The week has sped by, and it is now our last night in Telluride. I had been looking forward to this conference all summer – before I came, I thought this experience would be a great four days in a magnificently beautiful place, and I would come home enlightened on patient safety and quality improvement. While this turned out to be true, what I did not expect was for these four days to change my life. And yet – that is exactly what happened. This experience has forever changed the way I will practice medicine. I have heard stories that made my heart physically hurt, stories that made me sob in front of a classroom of people I had only known for two days. When these stories were shared, their owners were giving away parts of themselves so that we, as future caregivers, would learn from them and would act as catalysts to change our broken system. We owe it to these selfless and unbelievably brave individuals to keep up the momentum we have gained while being here – to speak up when parts of our healthcare system are broken, to listen to our patients and their families because they are why we do what we do. We cannot simply go through the motions. We need to practice mindful medicine, to practice human-centered medicine. One of my classmates wisely stated today that our patients are not our tasks – they are our purpose. I commit to remembering the lessons learned here every day that I practice medicine, but more than that, I commit to teaching others the significance of patient safety and just culture.
To be honest, I did not think I would ever be even seriously considered as an applicant to medical school. My college GPA was not where it needed to be, and I didn’t think schools could overlook my mediocre performance. I did a master’s program at Georgetown to prove to medical schools that I could excel at medical school coursework despite past grades, and when I was admitted off the wait list in late June, I thought that was the luckiest day of my life. I had been accepted to medical school – what many physicians often call “the hardest part” of the process. What could go wrong now? I had made it – I was in. After just finishing my first year of medical school, I was still feeling that hig