Medical school is a series of first times
Our task in donning roles of professionalism as health care providers comes hand-in-hand with all the aspects of our identity and the tolls that come with it. This is especially significant as the younger generation, consisting of more and more intersectional identities, becomes more commonplace not only in society at large but also in the health care world. However, when this ideal of professionalism is compounded by someone like me — a minority woman colored by a recurrent, pervasive backdrop of objectification for pleasure by Caucasian cultures; a female person of color who feels the need to tread carefully to succeed in a field historically dominated by men — where does it leave us?
For medical providers to treat all their patients justly — without discrimination and judgement — is a mindset that medical students are frequently taught to embrace throughout their medical training. What is not often discussed nor taught in medical education is the reverse situation: patient discrimination towards their medical providers.
In line with my training, I have been taught to identify myself by name and position when introducing myself to patients. And so I do: I say, “My name is Rasan Cherala and I am a fourth-year medical student who will be taking care of you today.” This introduction is supposed to set the stage for a productive relationship.
This painting represents a growing “discontinuity” between patients and doctors, depicted by caduceus dividing the doctor and patient. Medical providers are burdened with paperwork, long hours, less time for relaxation, family, and to recharge.
We are proud to announce the founding of Mosaic in Medicine, an online peer-reviewed publication for underrepresented voices in medicine. We founded this publication to shine a light on the issues and difficulties that we face as underrepresented individuals in medicine. Our experiences as unheard voices in medicine are all too often hidden, overlooked, or unrecognized.
We are taught about the social determinants of health in the first week of medical school. That things like finances, job stress, education, safety, and environment, often have as much an impact on health as does pathophysiology.
I have never felt as though my gender has affected my ability to succeed in medicine. I have never received “the short end of the stick,” and I have never felt discriminated against in any way. My medical knowledge and clinical reasoning have never been questioned because I am a woman, and no preceptor has ever doubted my career aspirations, no matter how grandiose they might seem.