The Sweet Spot of Medicine
"Science brings us closer to the divine"
- Louis Pasteur
I love science. In fact, it was my first love. Not yet knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I entered college declaring a pretty generic science major- Biology. I loved everything about my major...from botany to anatomy & physiology. I loved the precision, the predictability, the knowing of how "life" works, what screws up the physiologic response and even how to manipulate science to return things to the natural order. It has always been fascinating to me and still is. This attraction to science is what led me to medical school and to 15 years of practicing family medicine.
And yet, as much as I love science, my life recently took a little detour into new territory....life coaching. For those of you who are not familiar with life coaching, suffice it to say that after a two year journey to become a professional life coach I have been sufficiently indoctrinated into what I once would have called the "woo-woo". The coaching world initially seemed to me like the polar opposite of my life as a physician...absent of the precision and predictability of science.
In fact, I suddenly found myself inviting my new coaching clients to "embrace the unknown", to "challenge what you think you know", and to "accept imperfection". Yikes! I'll be honest, at times it felt like blatant disregard for the Hippocratic Oath...first do no harm. Had I gone to the dark side? Had I sacrificed all I had worked so hard for and the integrity of the oath I had sworn? Short answer- NO. Longer answer, NO, and I can assure you I have not gone to the "dark side". If anything, this foray into the "woo-woo" has shed some real light on the art of practicing medicine.
A little of my back story...I grew up in a Christian home, however, my experience of "the divine" was pretty much limited to the church building. The church continued to provide a safe haven for me even into adulthood. I called myself a Christian and yet I kept it very separate from my work life. Don't get me wrong, I prayed as a doctor. In fact, I prayed a lot...for steady hands, sound mind, and even for sleep. This prayer was very private, though.
So, where am I going with all of this? Well, basically, I want to share with you how the "woo-woo" of coaching (which, by the way, I no longer consider "woo-woo") brought me to this revelation...
...the art of medicine is to serve
patients from the sweet spot
between science and the divine.