I have always been sure of my desire to become a family doctor but within my first year out of residency, the assuredness in my course was turned on its head. Maybe some of you have been in the same position. Maybe, like me, your early assurance carried you through many long hours in the library and wards of medical school and the early mornings and late nights of residency. Then before you knew it, you were in the last year of residency about to launch into your first real job as a doctor. For me, the importance of this decision was weighty; it was the pinnacle of all those years of training, finally my chance to go out and do what I had set out to do.
Graduation came and went and soon my husband, our two young children, and I were packing up our home to trek across country where we would set up a new life and establish a career in a rural, underserved community. I jumped headfirst into the practice and community. At first, my pediatric patients would hide behind their mom’s legs and eye my blonde hair and tallness suspiciously. Many times I laughed with my patients as I made yet another mistake in Spanish, but they delighted in helping me to perfect my Mexican accent. They brought me cantaloupes and I delivered their babies. The staff embraced me as their own families’ doctor and I learned the ecstasy of fresh, hand-made tortillas.