A Medical Student’s Perspective on the COVID Pandemic

By Jessica Rodriguez

Jessica Rodriguez is a Natchitoches native who is now a medical student training to be a physician at the LSUHS School of Medicine in Shreveport.

We were in the anatomy lab preparing for our final exam of the course when the professor walked in and got everyone’s attention. She announced that we all were to leave, the school was moving online and would have no more in person contact for an unknown amount of time. Dazed and confused we gathered our things and began to leave wondering what this meant for the future. Then we joined the rest of the world as we watched selfless healthcare workers march into hospitals in need. We all have similar stories. The moments when we became aware of the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis will stick with us for the rest of our lives.

In medical school, there is something that they call the hidden curriculum. It’s what is learned from training that they don’t teach from textbooks. Usually, it has a negative connotation, but through this crisis, I have gotten a glimpse of the true heart of healthcare. And it’s a beautiful thing. It’s the team that works in unity. It’s the wholehearted devotion to the patient in need. It’s the leaders who serve. It’s those who are passionate about preventing further harm. It’s those who are available when needed.

I have had the honor of listening in on meetings that healthcare leaders have had about the crisis, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to go into the hospitals, and I’ve been privileged to use my own hands in the fight against the invisible foe.

As an outsider, it’s easy to get caught in the divisive politics in our country. However, as someone who has been an active participant, I am here to share some beauty in the middle of the chaos. Healthcare workers, even those who disagree with each other politically, have the same end goal: the end of this pandemic. They care about their patients. They show up at work to better the lives of those who depend on them. They have such passionate opinions because they have seen the impact that specific actions have had on outcomes.

While much of life as we know it has shifted under our feet, the mission of the medical field has not just stayed solid but has actually grown stronger. Regardless of age, race, politics, or religion these healthcare workers have one goal, to save lives. And it is one of my greatest honors to be training to join the heroes of our day.

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