The Seven Ages of a Physician*

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The healthcare world’s a stage,
And all physicians merely players.
They have their dreams and their realities,
And one doc in this time plays many parts,
With acts seeing seven ages.

At first, the med student,
Stressing and puking in the nurse’s way.

Then the whining intern,
With an anxious and sleepless morning face,
Creeping like a snail unwillingly to rounds.

And then the resident,
Trying, in earnest, treatments so valid,
made to appear so highbrow.

Then a doc bolder,
Full of strange oaths and focused on patients,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking a stellar reputation, even if anonymous.

And then private practice,
Independently not following a party line,
With secure and diverse payer mix,
Full of work comp and private insurers,
And so they pay their part.

The sixth age shifts into the disillusioned physician,
Regulations arise in overreach;
The youthful zeal, beat down, controlled, employed;
In this shrunk role, banished there by no choice,
Yearning again for independence,
Sulks and bristles on the rounds.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is demoralization and mere oblivion,
Sans practice, sans patients, sans joy, sans everything.

*This melancholic monologue was adapted from William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII.

If this default future is not as you like it,
don’t just audition for a role,
write your own play!

we are great

https://jamespmurphymd.com/2014/01/06/is-this-future-unstoppable

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One thought on “The Seven Ages of a Physician*

  1. A monologue from William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” Act II Scene VII

    Ref:
    http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/all-the-world-s-a-stage

    All the world’s a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players;
    They have their exits and their entrances,
    And one man in his time plays many parts,
    His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
    Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
    Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
    And shining morning face, creeping like snail
    Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
    Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
    Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
    Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
    Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
    Seeking the bubble reputation
    Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
    In fair round belly with good capon lined,
    With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
    Full of wise saws and modern instances;
    And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
    Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
    With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
    His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
    For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
    Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
    And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
    That ends this strange eventful history,
    Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
    Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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