Musician - Physician:Pros & Cons
"I do not believe that doctors can sing so nicely",I never imagined that you are a doctor?
I have often heard these lines and wondered why do people have these perceptions about people -particularly doctors/physicians.
Over the last 20 years of my journey as a medical student and later on as an emergency physician at a leading corporate hospital,I have always followed my heart- both preofessionally and personally.Despite being in a profession which tends to have no set timelines for work, i have always found time to nurture my passion for music.I have always felt that sense of music is a God's Gift and very few people are blessed with this.I happen to be one of those lucky few & there have been times in life where I felt guilty of not being able to utilize this unique ability.However,over the years I have always found people who enjoy music & they have been kind enough to encourage me with their feedback(both positive & negative)
It is not a cakewalk though-it is like walking on the tightrope.Because you sing or perform-People tend to take you as not one of the traditional doctors(who is supposed to be very dignified,maintaining the intellectual distance from simple pleasures in life)At many a times people at work tend to take you for granted as you are fun loving.There is a slight risk of your professional competency being undermined by your peers/supervisors.Some of the patients/their relatives would reach out to you not for your professional opinion but for the ease of your accessibility.At the work place you might always be called in for a lot of things which are not important as a physician(Master of ceremony for every other function at the workplace)Many of your subordinates/juniors might also take you for granted.
However the other side is that you make great relationships with some of the patients you see(They are in awe of you!!)You also have the opportunity to be exposed to the leadership in the organisation at various functions/programs.It is also good for your supervisors/managers to know about you from the external world.At a personal level-ability to pursue your hobby/passion alongside your work improves your performance at work.
In my experience -honestly-i still continue to do the tightrope walking-It is not easy to a balancing act between a physican & a musician.However i did a conscious effort to strive for professional excellence first and then later on bring out the other side -musician.Which means there is no alternative to professional excellence as a physician-you have to be very good at your work.If this is complemented with your ability to sing/perform/any other hobby-It will help you both at personal and professional level
As an emergency physician I have also realised that being blessed with an artistic temperament makes you more sensitive than others to what others need/feel(artists usually are sentimental-I think most of us would agree)Accrding to me this is one quality(being sensitive) which differentiates between ordinary and extrordinary physicians( from a patient's perspective).It is this quality which enables you to do more for the patient and their families.That is when they remember you-for the humane side of yours /not just professional excellence
So continue to walk the tightrope- don't give up on your hobby/passion.It enables you to do more if you channelise your time appropriately.People will continue to like you if you are honest in what you do( from the heart)
Musician/Physician combination is a great synergy for professional & personal satisfaction.