A Glimpse into the Heart of a Physician

Editor’s Note: This is a series of real-life essays written by physicians for entry into medical school and into residency. We hope that by sharing these, those who are not physicians will have the opportunity to see the why and know a piece of our hearts. We also hope that those who are physicians will be inspired and touched and helped to remember why we do what we do- the meaning behind our work. Copying these will constitute plagiary.


As a 3 year old child, I pretended to listen to hearts with a Fisher Price Stethoscope.  I then became a 12 year old who experienced my first broken heart when my grandfather passed away.  In high school, I grew more interested in the dynamics of the heart and wrote a 9th grade biology paper on “Myocardial Infarction”.  Through the rest of my high school career, I found that my peers began to depend on me as a friend and listener.  They began to confide in me as I was a founding member of a Peer Helper organization.

During my junior year of college, I was involved in trying to prevent a friend’s suicide, and through the process of losing this friend to suicide, learned about a troubled heart. 

Shortly after, in 2004, I began medical school and throughout the past 3 years have learned the physiology and pathology of the heart.  However, the more that I mature, and through my training as a lifelong student of Osteopathy, I am slowly discovering that there is more than physiology responsible for the heart beat.  Equipped with my life experience as well as my medical education thus far, I am prepared to embark upon an Internal Medicine residency, which I believe will serve as a gateway for me discover that which makes the heart beat.

For example, I believe that the passion is one impetus behind the heart beat. 

My passion happens to be people.

I thrive on my interactions with others not only in the clinical setting, but also in my daily life.  Since I know, in an abstract sense, what drives my heart, I have a better understanding of how to better channel this passion.  In my short amount of training, I have come to realize that Internal Medicine would prove to be the best avenue through which I can not only develop my skills as a clinician, but will also provide me the opportunity to learn to care for the whole person.  And, if I so choose, I can continue my training after a three year residency.

Through my training as an internal medicine resident, I will be exposed to both physical and mental illness, which undoubtedly affect the heart beat.

I am devoted to continue my commitment to life long learning through the study of medicine.

As a medical student who was enrolled in a problem-based learning curriculum during my preclinical training, I feel that I am well prepared to engage in the academic aspects of an Internal medicine program.  I possess the self-motivation to continually enrich my knowledge base, improve my critical thinking abilities, and further develop my interpersonal skills.

As a 27 year old, with life experiences and brief medical training, I have come to realize that the heart is more than a group of cells working as myocardium to pump blood.  It has to be driven by more than the SA and AV nodes.  I not only believe that there is a spiritual aspect of the heart which is so divinely interwoven with the physical, but also that four years of medical school is not enough time to truly comprehend this relationship. 

It will take a lifetime of interacting with patients – through such acts as listening to them, developing trusting relationships with them, speaking to their family members, and watching them pass away – before I will better understand what makes the heart beat. 

I have decided that this will become my life’s work now that my one dream of becoming a doctor is about to come to fruition.  I have such a love for people that I already consider myself to be a doctor of people.  Prepared to begin the next chapter of my life, equipped with my medical knowledge and my spirituality, I hope to treat not only physical ailments but also the spiritual ailments.   I may never truly, in this lifetime, come to appreciate all of the factors that contribute to the heart beat, but I am willing to commit myself to both physical and spiritual growth as a physician and caretaker, ever reminding myself daily to stop and reflect on this one question – What really makes the heart beat?