Jessica Burlile: "My White Coat Means"


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The first time I looked at myself in the mirror wearing my white coat I felt the weight of responsibility - a responsibility to be decisive and precise, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and compassionate for my future patients. In the white coat I looked as if I already possessed these skills, and the reality of the image that the white coat portrays sank in. Regardless of what specialty a student may ultimately choose to practice, we as doctors (and student doctors) will have the responsibility to be a source of strength for our patients. Whether celebrating successful treatments or guiding patients and their families through an end-of-life transition, a precise choice of words can convey a physician's authenticity of emotional expression and a clear understanding of the diagnosis: imparting physical, mental, and emotional strength to both patients and their families. This strength will aid the patient through treatment or recovery, and if recovery is not possible, give the patient a sense of peace - for it is not only in fighting, but also in acceptance and understanding, that there is victory over that which strives to break one's spirit and demoralize one's resolve.

-Jessica Burlile, MD Candidate, Class of 2020