Dr. Wes with Colleagues and Friends
Cardiology Fellowship Graduation,
National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD
I'm not sure there's ever a time in medical training where one is so happy to get on with their careers as the day you complete your fellowship training. For a few very intense years, a special bond forms between you and those who work beside you - you've seen tough cases, sad cases, spectacular cases, together.
Fellowship was a chance to focus on the science and art of a very narrow segment of medicine. In my case, it was cardiology and (later) cardiac electrophysiology. I was glad I was able to retrieve the picture above, taken just before I completed by cardiology fellowship training. I wonder where all those magnificent people are now, and marvel at the young faces, the tennis shoes, the film canisters above the image intensifiers that are now obsolete, replaced by fancier digital acquisition systems.
It was with some poignancy that I saw another graduating class in hail the efforts of the graduating cardiac electrophysiology fellows on Friday.
There they are, surrounded by friends, staff members, family members, and a whole host of support personnel (nurses, technicians, education administration, etc.) They are, for now, at the peak of their game - as ready as they can possibly be for working independently (we hope). They look back. Remember all the good times and bad. They get gifts to wish them well. They get signed momentos. Joy - pure, nervous joy.
And that's the paradox of such moments when we part ways, isn't it? We leave our friends and closest colleagues to head off on our own and make a mark. What lies ahead, we haven't a clue...
...because despite all the hours and effort, that's when the learning really starts.