If you’re new to the world of medicine, an “attending” is the physician who has primary responsibility for the care of a patient. So why is spending time with one of them such a big deal for a medical student?
The answer, at least in part, is found in 2 Timothy 2:1-2 –
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
I love this passage! Paul is telling Timothy, his son in the faith, to do for others what’s he’s done for him – invest in them deeply so that they will, in turn, invest in others. This is the process of Christian discipleship.
Medical students, like all of us, are looking for mentors – people who have gone before them, will come alongside them, and help them become who they’re meant to be in Christ. A godly attending, then, is so much more than a doctor – he or she incarnates what it means to represent Christ as the Great Physician, healer of body and soul.
This is why we invite attendings – and other healthcare professionals – to SMI. We want our students to see firsthand what it looks like to submit all of who they are, including who they are as medical students, to the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Recently, we had the privilege of welcoming Dr. Rich Shoemaker (pictured above with his wife, Ana), along with his family, on project for a week. Rich taught on a variety of topics – Colossians 2, how a life in medicine affects marriage and family life, how to survive residency, and on his upcoming long-term service as a missionary physician in Liberia. The students got a rare, up-close look at what it means to actually live out everything they’ve learned.
Equally important, though, was just the opportunity to spend informal time with Rich and his family. His passion for Christ, his love for his family, and his vulnerability in sharing his journey with us are a gift the students get to keep long after his departure. Their time with Rich will shape what they aspire to as future physicians.
Please join us in praying that God will raise up many more mentor-attendings in the years to come.