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I'm Thankful for What PGY2 Taught Me, but I'm Glad It Is Over

Dear PGY2 year,

It is without regret that I have officially said goodbye to you as our time together has come to an end. You tried your absolute hardest to break me down, but I am proud to say that you were not successful. I will admit, the latest nights and earliest mornings without sleep you shared with me, as well as the immense responsibility with seemingly uncatchable knowledge you expected from me were valiant efforts. While there were plenty of tough times we spent together, I think it’s important for you to know that I will always cherish what you have given me.

As I reflect on our year spent together, I often think back to how excited I was to finally meet you. I felt a rush of pride as I was no longer considered an intern and might know a thing or two. You quickly showed me that was not the case, and that I had so much more to learn. But day in and day out, with all the new challenges you made me face, I did learn.  

You gave me the opportunity to research an interesting clinical question that resulted in some significant results. This led to acceptance to present at a national meeting, as well as a research award. You challenged me with OR days that had 10+ cases per day, but it was no time before I was able to do all of them by myself. You made me present on topics I had no clue about at departmental grand rounds. After reading textbook chapters multiple times each, you finally let things start “clicking” for me. You helped me be more than I thought I could be.

I remember the times you let me get back to the human aspect of medicine, like when you introduced me to a young girl who was so excited to be able to breathe out of her nose after an adenoidectomy. She was getting made fun of at school because she would eat with her mouth open just to be able to breathe, which made her quit eating there. When we talked about her surgery, we cried happy tears together. I remember when you let me slowly get to learn a man’s history after he struggled to learn to communicate after his total laryngectomy. I also remember the time I was able to surgically correct a man’s eyelids to help him read better. This was his coping mechanism after he recently lost his wife, and the surgery helped him recover from that. He thanked me by showing me the photos of his wife, and the light I saw in those eyes was more than enough to remind me how lucky I am to do what I do. 

While I know I am nowhere near the physician and surgeon I need to be, I take pride in the growth you gave me this year. Even though it is frequently hard to realize, I know I am better than I was a year ago. My efforts to soak up all the new information you have presented me with, as well as the most important patient interactions that remind me why you put me through all of this, have renewed my sense of purpose in this field. I never want to meet you again, but I am certainly grateful for everything you gave me. It is with a humble heart that I say thank you.

With love,

Brette

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