“Be authentic, resilient, practice empathy and learn from and with your patients. And along the way, remember to have fun,” said Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, chief medical officer at Christiana Care, in a keynote address to 270 incoming students at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia on Aug. 5.
Dr. Nevin’s remarks were part of the traditional White Coat Ceremony for the Jefferson Medical College class of 2015. Jefferson Medical College was the first medical school in Philadelphia to establish the White Coat Ceremony, a tradition symbolizing the clinical start of every student’s medical education.
Much of what Dr. Nevin told the new medical students centered on resilience, a virtue she said they will need in the practice of medicine.
“More than education, more than experience, resilience will determine who succeeds and fails. That’s true in the Olympics and it’s true in business,” said Dr. Nevin quoting a Harvard Business School professor. She added: “It is also true in health care.”
Resilient people can adapt to change, stress or problems—they take things in stride, she continued. “When they are able to do this, they feel successful and confident and are ready for the next challenge. In simple terms, resilience is the satisfaction of turning lemons into lemonade.”
Dr. Nevin exhorted the students to learn from their patients. “If you want to grow your resilience, if you want to feel empathy, you will learn from each of the relationships you develop with your patients,” she said.
Dr. Nevin received her medical doctorate, magna cum laude and with honors, from Jefferson Medical College in 1987. She completed her family medicine residency and chief residency at Jefferson Medical College. After a two-year fellowship in Pittsburgh, she returned to the college as a faculty member of family medicine, serving as the residency director for the department from 1995 to 2002. She is currently an associate professor of family medicine at Jefferson Medical College.