TUSPM Commencement 2016
Excerpts from Keynote Speech delivered by
Dr. Bradley W. Bakotic, DPM, DO
Though it is this class of graduating physicians that we’re celebrating today, we all know that in many instances, it is the support of the support of our loved ones that make such milestones possible. Despite their massive commitment of time, their extraordinary efforts, and the treasures that they’ve put forth to make this happen, somewhere in most of their lives there are persons on whom they have relied for support, and who have shown them the patience of a saint. For any of you who might be married, you owe your wife or husband….BIG TIME! I can’t even imagine that level of sacrifice.
I won’t sugar coat the future for the physicians sitting before me. I believe that you will have many challenges during your careers that simply didn’t exist 30 years ago. We’re moving from a day when healthcare was a privilege that persons would sacrifice to obtain, to a day when healthcare is thought of as a fundamental right. This isn’t necessarily a political issue, and it’s not for me to judge whether it’s right or wrong; it’s simply a fact of our evolution as a country. Whether for better or worse, I believe that it makes the role of the physician a bit more challenging. Whenever we anoint people with a right, we take a right away from someone else. As healthcare becomes a right for the people of this country, the rights of its physicians will be curtailed to some extent. Our role will become slightly more one of subservience than it has been in the past. For this reason, and possibly because through the wonder of the internet, basic medical information is no longer uniquely ours, we’ll be a little less revered.
How can you make a difference? First, know your patients. Enjoy your role in making their lives better. Look your patients in the eye when you speak to them and listen to them when they speak to you. Ask them how they are and give them your attention when they reply. Second, continue to pursue knowledge and the betterment of your profession. If you are lucky enough to have an informative clinical case, publish it so that the experience is shared with your colleagues. Get involved with education. The most fundamental way for you to positively impact your profession is by sharing your knowledge with your colleagues. If you learn something profound, and you tuck it away in the corner of your mind, it’s been wasted in the broader sense. The bottom line is that we all must give back. On a personal note, I can say that nothing will bestow a better night sleep than when you have the opportunity to positively affect those around you. Have faith in that.
Doctors it all comes down to this: Thirty-five years from now, after your hair has turned grey, and crow’s feet punctuate your eyes, when you’re locking your office door for the very last time; make sure that you know in your heart that you’ve made a difference; a difference in the lives of your patients, a difference for your profession, and a difference in the world at large. It all begins now. I can tell you without a second’s hesitation that you represent the finest crop of clinicians that have ever matriculated through a podiatric university. You are light years ahead my class a few decades ago. Have faith in yourselves doctors, I certainly have faith in you. Parenthetically, if ever there is something that I can do to help you in your future endeavors, please let me know….that is as long as it’s not related to the student loan that your so lucky not to have.
Good luck to you. The future of our profession is in your hands, and capable hands they are. Thank you for allowing me to be here today!