Thoughts after Medical Fusion Conference
Next time you find yourself in The Maldive Islands with no plans and some spare cash, book a room at The Conrad Maldive Rangali Island Resort. In addition to the group of overwater bungalows, with a coral reef for a front porch, they will turn the underwater dinning room into a hotel suite, for the right price. The idea for a hotel room positioned 20 feet underwater amidst a vibrant coral reef teeming with fish is a concept anyone could dream up. However, taking that dream and turning it into a reality is a whole different story. When you learn about someone who made a big dream come to fruition, it forces a rethink. You begin to question all the assumptions held about “what’s possible” and this also leaves you open to new and bigger possibilities.
The 2011 Medical Fusion Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada has just finished and the weekend was packed with speakers who have spent their careers rethinking and redefining “possible” in medicine. I was fortunate to have the weekend open and was able to attend, because my current rotation is outpatient pediatrics. But this silver lining had a grey cloud. Though the first lecture was scheduled to begin at 8:00 am on friday morning, for me, the day began at four hunched over the toilet revisiting the previous night’s dinner. I guess I had one too many kids sneezing in my face that week and my normally stellar immune system was no match for those walking petri dishes. After two more episodes of reverse peristalsis I was less than enthusiastic about spending all day listening to lectures.
My apathy melted away almost instantly as the first speaker, Dr. Barry Silbaugh got up and shared his experiences working as the CEO of The American College of Physician Executives, his international medical work, and his thoughts on how to pursue a non-traditional career in medicine. As the morning went on I found my excitement building as one after another the speakers continued to shatter the assumptions I held about what is possible as a medical professional. By the time Dr. Greg Bledsoe finished his presentation on living and working abroad I was glowing with enthusiasm, though it could have just been my fever, but either way I had just been presented with a new paradigm and was ready for more.
As the conference continued, my immune system finally resumed control of my gastrointestinal system, and I was repeatedly amazed at the innovative and creative individuals sharing the trials and successes of practicing medicine on their own terms. My favorite part of the conference was the accelerator sessions at the end of each day. These sessions provided a chance to connect with the speakers on a more personal level. As a medical student this provided me with a rare opportunity to sit down with great doctors and pick their brain for advice. I was honored by the way they engaged my questions, offered sound advice, and challenged me to continue to think outside the box in my own career.
The experience I had at Medical Fusion was one I believe will become a defining point in my professional career. It is for that reason I have decided share what I learned and work to build a community where medical students can rethink what’s possible in medicine. Now that I have met so many talented physicians who are engaging medicine in a way that excites them, I know I want to do the same. The weekend helped me to rethink the kind of doctor I aspire to become. I hope this site will do the same for you and who knows may be some day we’ll be seeing patients at a hospital clinic 20 feet under the sea.