A tiny toddler struggles to her feet – and tries to run to her mother.

She takes a few shaky steps, then stumbles.

And falls to the ground.

She sits there, crying.

Now imagine what would happen if her mum walked up to her…

And slapped her on the face – for falling down!

Isn’t that stupid?

And silly?

Even cruel?

Of course it is.

It’s not the child’s fault that she tripped and fell!

Give the child a few more years. Or even months.

As she practices and grows stronger, learns how to balance and co-ordinate her movements, she’ll get better.

Pretty soon, she’ll be running all over the place – forcing mom to be constantly on the look out.

That’s exactly how we all learn.

Until then, it’s important to be patient, understanding, and forgive any mistakes.


What has this got to do with you being an intern?

Well, on some level, you, dear intern, are a toddler too.

In the long path to becoming a doctor, you’re still taking your first few baby steps.

Not surprisingly, you will stumble and fall.

You’ll make mistakes. Not know what to do. Or how to do it well.

Should you be held to account?

Punished or scolded?

Is it even reasonable to expect someone barely starting out as a doctor to behave perfectly?

Certainly not.

Which is why you shouldn’t expect that – of yourself!

Forgiveness for your own failings, shortcomings and limitations is important to develop early.

Can’t draw a blood on your first attempt? It’s okay.

Forgot to take a simple precaution? That’s alright.

Feel silly about that glaring oversight? Don’t worry.

You’ll soon get better at it.

Often, others will forgive you for mistakes. Often, you are the one who will be too hard and harsh on yourself.

Don’t be that silly, stupid, rude mom of a toddler who falls down while learning how to walk.

Learn forgiveness.

Practice it on others.

But first, upon yourself.

Have you read Dr.Sivasubramanian’s books on the making of a surgeon yet?

Read the other ‘Desirable Traits for Interns‘ here.

Published by DrSivasubramanian

Paediatric Heart Surgeon and Author -

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