Though I don’t believe that being a doctor is for me, I do hold the belief that more Black doctors are needed. The question is, how do we motivate young Black people interested in medicine to actually pursue it? Growing up, I was completely set on becoming a doctor. I thought that I was going to become the next best pediatrician. However, as I grew up and began to explore my passions and interests, I realized that medicine may not be for me. I know that many people feel the pressure to become a doctor throughout their childhood, and once they actually try it, are unable to carry on due to lack of motivation. However, I do believe that there are many young Black people who genuinely hold an interest of being a doctor but unfortunately something happens to push them out of it and they eventually stop their journey. I often feel guilty about holding such a strong belief that we need more Black people in the medical field, but choosing not to pursue it myself. Recently however, I had an experience that made me feel validated in my beliefs.
About three weeks ago I was rushed to the hospital due to some physical issues that I have been dealing with for a while now. I ended up having to be admitted to the hospital and was there for three days. During those three days I counted three other Black people who weren’t my parents or other patients: a maintenance woman, a police officer, and a resident medical student. While all of these roles are helpful to the general public, I felt joy when I saw the resident student. It was interesting because I feel like I have never wished more success on someone I’ve literally never talked to before. I hoped so badly that the student would successfully finish up her studies and become a doctor.
I had that feeling of hope when I saw the Black medical student because during my three days in the hospital I had to talk to many doctors which was very stressful and honestly fueled my anxiety. But when I was around the Black student doctor, something changed. I began to feel much more calm and comfortable when telling my story. I learned during my three days in the hospital that having Black doctors take care of Black patients is so essential because it just makes us feel more at home. Even though I didn’t know the student at all and never even exchanged words with them, just having them there made me feel reassured that someone was actually there to take care of me. It is difficult to describe but when someone who shares an aspect of your life as close to you or important to you tries to explain something that is happening, you truly understand the impact and the passion that they share with you. I did end up having a doctor of color while I was in the hospital and though she was extremely straightforward with me and honestly did not try to beat around the bush at all, I felt so comforted after she left. I knew for sure that she was on top of the issue and was going to do everything she could to help me get better.