No One is a Stranger to Mistakes

One morning before heading to my internship site, I woke up feeling good. Really good! Right away, I thought this was going to be a good day; I was ready to be awesome! I even had a full seven hours of sleep, something I realized I needed during the internship to function professionally. Boy did I need sleep to be clear as day while talking to patients and preceptors. I had learned the hard way that I could not be my best during the day, if I happened to overdo the double shot lattes at Starbucks the night before.

I grabbed my lunch, and casually locked the apartment door behind me. I glanced down at my watch, and was pleased to see I was leaving early! How nice it was to leave ten minutes ahead of schedule. Why didn't I figure this out sooner? No racing down 6 flights of stairs for me today!

I was on my way to my internship site, the roads were clear, and it was such an easy drive. I decided I made it to the office in plenty of time to grab an iced tea. This morning was going to be smooth sailing into an excellent day.

As I walked into the employee kitchen, I saw a woman frantically dabbing away at the iced tea machine, as water dripped down the cabinets and formed a big puddle on the floor. From my food service experiences during the internship, I knew the only thing worse than making a mess in the kitchen, is not having anyone else there to help you quickly hide the evidence! I mean ...clean up the mess! The woman uttered "I was only trying to clean the machine; I must have put the lid on backwards!" I was early, so I had time to help with clean-up. Fortunately, Joe, the friendliest custodian, soon showed up with his mop and quickly finished the job for us.

I suppose I'll have no iced tea today. It's ok. I'll take hot tea. Let's make it ginger peach. Three bags for extra peachiness! It's a good day!

As I left the kitchen with my peach bomb tea, I had a small nagging in the back of my mind. Is this a sign that something might not go right today? No way, I was feeling so good this morning. Everything was going to be fine!

I strolled down the aisle to my preceptor's office, enjoying the peachy scent wafting from my tea cup. Just as I turned to say good morning to my preceptor, I found coffee tinged papers sprawled across her floor. "I just knocked over my coffee cup and it went all over!" she explained.

Oh my gosh. I'm totally next.

Once you hit this point, you feel like some kind of disaster must be heading your way. You anxiously wait to see what is going to happen to you. Sometimes the unexpected happens, or you make a mistake; you just have to be prepared to find a solution. This reminds me of one time last fall, right after I informed a few chefs during a food service rotation that I have a culinary background, that I sliced my thumb, as I tried to cut a few lemon wedges for the doctor's lounge. I could have been embarrassed, but reminded myself it's not like these chefs have never cut themselves before either. Again, don't forget that the best fix to a mistake is quickly finding a solution. After I cut my thumb, I asked around for a band-aid and a glove, and I continued with my day.

So, yes. Later in my feel good day, I knocked my tea cup over, and my peachy tea spilled all over the fresh prints I had just made. I felt there was no better way to clean that mess than with a few napkins and a laugh! It was still a good day; all of my tasks went well besides spilling some tea.

My advice to the incoming class is to not be afraid of making mistakes. No one is a stranger to mistakes. When you make a mistake, and it will happen, figure out how to fix it. During the year, some days are not going to go your way, but be positive, do your best, and dive fully into each rotation to get as much experience as possible.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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