Dr. Graves Reflects on the Impact of the Future Physicians Program

Feb 8 2024

The following piece was written by Jessica Graves, MD, an attending physician at Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital.

As I look back on my journey in medicine, I can’t help but attribute the pivotal turning points to the invaluable experience I gained through the Future Physicians Program at Lourdes Hospital during my college years. Today, as a physician in the emergency department at this same hospital, I find myself returning to where my passion for emergency medicine was first ignited.

Future Physicians: a catalytic experience

The Future Physicians Program held a transformative significance for me, shaping my career trajectory and my personal growth as a future health care professional. My years in the program provided me with unmatched exposure to diverse medical specialties, teaching me an understanding of the dynamics within various areas of medicine. These clinical hours were instrumental in strengthening my medical school application and proved to be a cornerstone in defining my passion for emergency medicine.

From passion to profession

During my tenure in the Future Physicians Program, I gravitated toward the emergency department at Lourdes Hospital. Little did I know that those experiences would introduce me to my love for emergency medicine. The bustling environment, the adrenaline of emergency care and the opportunity to make a tangible impact on patients’ lives – these were the facets of the emergency department that spoke to me on a visceral level and resonated with my core values as a health care provider.

The return to my calling

Completing my residency and returning to work as an attending physician in the same emergency department feels like a homecoming. It demonstrates the impact of the Future Physicians Program on my career arc and steered me toward a professionally and personally fulfilling path. As far as I know, I believe I am the first Future Physicians intern to return to the same program as an attending physician, and the honor of this milestone is not lost on me.

A transformative perspective

One of the most profound realizations from my experiences in the Future Physicians Program is witnessing firsthand the essential role of clinical exposure in shaping a passionate and confident health care professional. Too often, aspiring medical students may find themselves embarking on this challenging career path without a genuine understanding of the day-to-day realities of being a physician. For me, the Future Physicians Program was the catalyst that provided me with the clarity and conviction to pursue emergency medicine wholeheartedly.

Looking toward the future

Reflecting on my journey from the Future Physicians Program to my role now, I am profoundly grateful for the experiences that have shaped my trajectory. The program ignited my passion for emergency medicine and helped set me apart as a medical school candidate. Today, I’m committed to paying this experience forward by guiding and mentoring aspiring health care professionals, igniting in them the same passion and purpose discovered through clinical exposure.

Ultimately, through the lens of my experiences in the Future Physicians Program, I have come to appreciate the impact of early clinical exposure, and I am dedicated to supporting and guiding the next generation of medical trailblazers.

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