Fam Pract Manag. 2004 Jan;11(1):80.

If you can keep your head when one is crowning,

And be peaceful when all is going well;

If you can swim against the tide that’s drowning

So many people under profit’s swell;

If you can hear the fear among the nervous,

And tell a tear will trickle sometime soon;

If you can see yourself in lifelong service,

Yet save that special family afternoon;

If your wisdom can comfort many mothers;

If you hold the wrinkled hand, brand new or old;

And do so much to help so many others,

And keep the secrets you alone are told;

If you can tell that every life’s a story,

And listen close to hear the common strains;

If you can face the grim, the gross, the gory;

And often cure, but always ease the pain;

If you can deal with chaos and with humdrum,

Finding every day a new way you can grow;

If you know the community you come from,

Yet sometimes simply say just, “I don’t know”;

If you can fill the asystolic minute

With 10 cc’s of IV bicarb run;

Then walk out to the waiting room and in it

Share the failure of everything you’ve done;

If you can talk with calm and walk with power,

Treat common people with uncommon care;

If you see change as springtime’s future flower;

Yet keep the faith to which you’re honored heir;

If you can help with everybody’s illness,

And share the power knowledge can unlock;

If you can fill long silences with stillness,

Then you will know that you’re a Family Doc.

Dr. Phillips is a family physician in Seattle where he practices, teaches and does research. In 1999 he was honored as the Family Physician of the Year in Washington state. He is also senior associate editor of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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