Just a Few "Highest Calling" Tips

I don't know who made the claim that "the medical profession is the highest calling a person can follow," but I heard my father make reference to the expression a few times. I believe it's true-based on the deeds and words of my physician dad during his long years of practice and my observations and readings about the profession in general.

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

—Theodore Roosevelt

I don’t know who made the claim that “the medical profession is the highest calling a person can follow,” but I heard my father make reference to the expression a few times.

I believe it’s true—based on the deeds and words of my physician dad during his long years of practice and my observations and readings about the profession in general.

Thanks to dad’s example, here are some “highest calling” rules of the road:

> Develop Your Knowledge—My father was a person who hungered for knowledge. He read, he traveled, he listened, he watched. A whole lot was packed into his lifetime.

Smart in schooling, after graduating Fordham University with honors, dad entered medical school and earned his diploma in just 3 years, as the nation needed doctors for the World War II efforts.

He was recognized for his knowledge and skill as a physician—as a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners.

A man of varied interests, my father was a voracious reader, strong advocate for education, collector of Native American culture, aspiring poet, dedicated horseman, sailor and golfer, photographer, champion college diver and gymnast, and fan of sports, ballet and music.

The guy had a terrific mind … which he used to help others.

> Treat the Person—Patient, after patient, after patient has told me through the years how my father’s medical care made all the difference in their recovery and subsequent capacity to live a healthy and happy life. That’s a big deal. More times than I can remember I heard “your father saved my life.” And even if he didn’t, they still believed it because of his high level of care and caring.

Although I can’t say he was a keen listener with me, somehow he made it into an art form as a medical practitioner. His patients loved him for his ability to listen to their health concerns, tell them what was wrong, advise a course of treatment and then drive them to comply.

The thing that helped dad here was that he was an authority guy. When he said that something had to be done—at the office, at the hospital, even at home—it got done.

With dad, the patient always came first. He demanded it.

> Make a Long Journey—My father was a real practicing doctors for some 50 years. For parts of 6 decades he was very busy seeing patients at his office or in the hospital.

And he did his medicine during the times when doctors held near God status. In the end, he only kept going not because he wanted to but because “my patients need me,” he’d say.

I knew first hand that his hours, days, weeks, months and years were long. Besides, he told me, often remarking to my “what where you doing then” questions, with “working my butt off.”

He also married 3 times—which may have made his life seemed longer? In fact, he found 2 great wives out of 3. So his long life probably included more good years than bad ones.

For a very long time he took care of his patients because they needed him, his family because he loved them, and himself because his life passage was to be long.