wow, you’re young

After 4 years of college + 4 years of medical school + 5.5 years of residency, the famous words from a patient: wow, you’re young, is not something I want to hear. I do not normally wear my white coat in clinic. Children get anxious enough seeing my stethoscope or my reflex hammer.

I started wearing my white coat again in clinic once I started my faculty job. Call it ‘wearing my big-girl undies’ or something. I used it to give me the empowering sense that yes, I did complete residency. Yes, I can treat your seizures.

I see it on the parents’ faces. I see it on the grandparents’ eyes. But 95% of them were polite. They do not say it to my face, but maybe to each other once I leave the room.

One morning, I did not feel like wearing my white coat. I forgot to exchange it to a clean one. So I ventured away from my desk, straight to the examination room without my “shield.”

The mother looked up. The first words she said were: wow, you’re young. I said, thank you repeatedly. Then I heard my defensive self say: oh, I get that a lot. People do not believe me that I am old enough to have three children.

So it boils down to that defense. I have three children so I must be old enough to treat yours. I did not say anything about my years of schooling or my place of training. I did not mention the number of hours I logged in per week as an intern or the number of times I had to give bad news.

Asking the parents’ to place their trust in me is a huge thing! I do not take it lightly that I am taking care of their most precious loved one. I do try to “dress the part”. However, no matter how bright red of a lipstick I wear, or if I don my white coat or not, they still see me as “fresh” out of college-face. Thanks to my children, I can boastly say (or at least play the part!). I have training to help your child, and I also have real-life experience as a mother of three under five.

Do you "judge" your doctor by how he/she looks or if he/she wears a white coat? Do you "google" your new doctor and check for his/her place of training, year of graduation?

Linking up with Emma and Jane for medical Mondays.

And with Lindsay, Doranda.

Sarah and Elena .

Cardi ~ j. Crew factory, top ~ banana republic, peplum skirt ~ piperlime, heels ~ Calvin Klein.

Keep in touch


  1. I've come to realize, it's all about perspective and where you are in life. Doc H and I have felt the shift, and eventually, you will too. Doc H and I used to be the "young" ones. Now, we see the "young" ones below us, and realize we shifted to the group of "old" ones. The "young" ones look younger and younger.. to the point that we can't believe we ever looked that young! :) Thanks for linking up with us!!

  2. Ohmigosh, I can relate. I get the "young" comment all the time, and I can get defensive when I hear it way too many times. Must be different when you're a doctor though. I personally don't look up my doctors ahead of time. As long as I have a good first visit and I feel like they answered my questions, it's good with me. :)

    As a side note, I really like your skirt!


    1. I am appreciative that I do not look like I am 50 when I am in my 30s!
      Thanks for visiting my blog! This skirt is one of my faves -- got it on piperlime!

  3. My dr husband looks young too. I'll have to ask him if a patient has ever commented on it! I get it all the time, even though I'm currently a post-doc at 28. Now that I'm pregnant, people ask me how old I am quite often...I guess they think I'm a teen mom?! haha! Personally, I like having a "younger" doctor because I feel like I can connect better with someone closer to my own age.

  4. Thanks for linking up with Medical Mondays... so may doctors are young! After I delivered one of my babies a young woman with a state university sweat shirt walked in and started asking me questions. Only after did she leave did we find out she was the attending on call over the weekend. I wish everyone wore a white coat so I know who is there for what.

  5. We have moved a couple times in the past year, so every time I have to look for a new pediatrician for my son. When you're completely new somewhere and don't know anyone at all, the only way to do it is through online research. I won't lie - I definitely look at a doctor's credentials (where they studied, how long they've been practicing, etc.). However, I don't actually make my decisions based on that. More important to me is what their medical philosophy and approach towards pediatrics is...and what kind of vibe I get when I meet them in person. I can understand how experience (and therefore age) may be a big deal within the medical community (especially when the entire med school/residency/fellowship set up is so hierarchical), but as a patient (or parent of a patient) I choose not to focus on that because you never know - the young doctor might be better informed about recent advancements than the doctor who is near retirement. I don't care what's on paper so much as what I see right in front of me when I'm dealing with a doctor. Your knowledge and bedside manner will speak for themselves when those parents see you in action. :)

  6. I judge my doctor more by how understanding and competent they seem than by looks, but that's probably because of my med student husband. :)


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