September 25, 2011

Seizing Opportunity

This past week, I had a wonderful opportunity laid before me, and I almost let it slip from my grasp.  I had another lesson in the importance of continuing to speak the truth at every opportunity, especially when the circumstances are in my favor.  So to start, a little background: For the past month I have been working on the Family medicine inpatient service at a local hospital.  This hospital has one of the three family medicine residencies in Toledo, and I was on my sub-internship, so the hours were pretty busy and the days long. On Wednesday of each week, we have a couple hours of lecture, and this past week was no different. 
On Monday it became known that one of the lecturers had canceled and both the senior resident on service and a faculty member were seeking someone to fill the slot.  All day I heard them talk about it and make phone calls to no avail.  In the back of my mind I kept thinking to myself that perhaps I should offer to give a lecture on natural family planning, since I am a certified instructor.  But my fallen nature got the best of me throughout the day and I kept telling myself that two days wasn’t enough time to prepare and that I ‘deserved’ a break in the evenings.  Well, the Lord made it clear that I needed to man up.  At the very end of the day on Monday I happened to answer the phone in our office at the hospital and it was the attending physician trying to find a replacement lecturer.  She was looking for another resident, who wasn’t there and mentioned she still had not found a lecturer, after which we hung up.  Immediately the Lord gave me the proverbial knock upside the head and I realized that I needed to at least offer to give a lecture.  So I called back and offered, and the physician said that it would be wonderful if I could do this.  And so it was set.
I spent Monday and Tuesday evening putting together my 45 minute lecture covering the medical basics of Natural Family Planning, including the efficacy, the physiology behind the methods, and overview of charting, and medical applications including NaProTechnology. It was a lot of work but come Wednesday morning, it was all set.
I gave the lecture to a semi-openminded audience of family medicine residents and faculty, and to my surprise found it to be very successful.  I had some excellent questions the delved into some of the differences between NaProTechnology and standard reproductive endocrinology, along with others.  In the end I even had a resident express interest in learning more about NFP for herself and her patients, and discovered that another resident did not prescribe contraceptives.  Moreover, there was good feedback from other residents and faculty in regards to the lecture.
I was thrilled that I could do this.  I look back with a bit of shame on my initial hesitancy, but I give thanks to the Lord He gave me that extra push to take the risk.  This opportunity does not come along very often, and it is important that when we have a chance to shape the curriculum and education of medical students and residents that we take it!  We are not only in this fight to survive our training and practice, but to change the culture.  In order to do this, we need to become leaders in our fields, incorporating our values into our practice and mentoring others to do the same.  It can be difficult to expose ourselves to our colleagues, to show them where we stand, and even more difficult to try and become leaders to others.  And yet we cannot be afraid of the risks, but rather need to trust in the Lord and take that leap of faith.  He will not fail us, and when He presents us opportunities and we seize upon them, He will carry us through and let our actions bear great fruit.

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