New book written by U-M medical students reflects on what it means to become a physician
Upon entering the U-M Medical School, students receive a white coat and a stethoscope, symbolizing the start of their journey to become physicians. Now, thanks to an ambitious group of their peers, incoming students will also receive something a bit unexpected: a collection of short stories reflecting on what it means to study medicine, written by those on the same path.
Iatrogenesis: Essays on Becoming a Physician “was conceived out of a recognition that these coming-of-age stories, by trainees embarking on their journey into medicine, are too often untold,” says Trisha Paul (M.D. 2018), editor-in-chief of the collection. “While this journey is singular and deeply personal, we were struck by the elements of universality in our shared experiences: whether it be reconciling a new way of seeing humans as bodies, learning to cope with the intense emotions that can arise when caring for patients, or even questioning one’s decision to pursue a career in medicine in the first place.”
Iatrogenesis is derived from the Greek root words for “physician” and “origin,” a neologism that embodies the growth — the highs and lows — that comes from attending medical school and entering into the profession of caring for others.
“It has been my great honor to serve as the editor-in-chief, as well as a writer of this collection,” says Paul. “Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of sharing our stories has been to learn how embracing our collective vulnerability not only creates a closer sense of camaraderie, but also resilience in medicine.”