Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

‘I Trained You’

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on October 25, 2011

“I trained you,” my seventy-year old patient, Eleanor says, referring to the fact that I saw her in my training and we have “grown up together” as she continues to say. “I trained a few others, but I stuck with you,” she reports, referring to the fact  that she had seen many trainees, but she followed me into my private practice, allowing us to have a long relationship. “You seem rather proud of that. I agree that you were certainly there in my formative years as a professional.” I say, joining her in her assessment that her role as a patient was pivotal to my growth as a psychiatrist. “I am proud. You were just a young thing when we started, and now you seem more sure of yourself,”  Eleanor says, continuing in her role as my teacher, almost as if she is my mentor. “That is interesting that you see change in me and that you comment on that,” I say, highlighting that she is both observant and direct. “I think I did a good job,” she says, enjoying our repartee. “I am glad you think so,” I say, proud that I give her satisfaction, but also  noticing the upside-down quality to our conversation. For a few moments, the doctor-patient relationship has flipped. We are going to return, but this was an interesting interlude.

2 Responses to “‘I Trained You’”

  1. Shelly said

    Doesn’t it make this difficult to have a professional-patient relationship, when she “knew you when?” As if she knew you before you weren’t a physician? Or can you both get past it?

    • In this fictional account, I am describing someone who has always been my patient. I saw this fictional individual in my training (post medical school) and she has watched me “develop” over the years. Sorry if this was not clear.

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