I will never forget, on September 21st, 2012, at roughly 5 pm, I was called "doc" by a real patient in a real hospital. I was on a required "hospital visit" which is basically just a shadowing experience that the medical school makes first-year students do 3 times a semester. At each visit, we have to wear our white coats, and bring our stethoscopes. So I guess...(besides the fact that my face makes me look like I am 12) I sort of...kind of...looked like an actual physician. Anyways, I was following a nurse around on a step-down unit, and we were giving out medications to all of the wards. We made our way to a private room where the patient had been in hospital for a couple of weeks with an infection. He was quite a talker, and went into a story about his past. I was sucked into talking with him, and before I knew it, 20 minutes had past. The nurse was long gone, on her way to give medications to other patients.
I made up an excuse about having to catch up with the nurse, and started to walk out of the room. That's when it happened. I heard the patient say, "Doc?" I immediately turned around, expecting to see a real doctor hiding somewhere in the room. However, I was the only person there. I wish I could tell you all that I said something smart or professional, but I just turned and looked at him with a stupid grin on my face. The patient then said "thanks for talking with me."
Looking back on this, it is still pretty awesome, and a little bit scary. I am 25% of the way done with the classroom learning of medical school. I have learned more in the last 4 months than I have ever before in my life. However, there is SO much that I don't know yet. One day I actually will have the responsibility attached to being called "doctor." That is a lot to live up to.