Meeting with my patient felt more like meeting a close family friend. She shared with me a vulnerability and strength that couldn’t be described in words. This art piece was inspired by a question I asked her: what do we as future doctors need to know? In her lifelong journey with rheumatoid arthritis, she came across many different kinds of physicians from all walks of life. Her biggest advice to us as future physicians of patients with chronic illnesses was to listen. No one knows more about their condition than the patient living through it. Compassion has become a buzzword these days in medicine, and although it is a mainstay of a positive relationship, we should always remember that an equally important component of our careers is taking the back seat and just listening. Inspired by the etymology of the word “arthritis,” Arthron is a piece that focuses on the “joint”; both its physical meaning and the joint relationship required to have a positive physician-patient interaction. I hope this can serve as a visual reminder of how our careers would mean absolutely nothing without the incredible patients who allow us to join them on their journeys to health.

About the Artist: Gelila Yitsege

Gelila Yitsege is a rising second-year medical student from Alexandria, VA, who is also part of the Primary Care Leadership Tract. She loves spending time with her friends, family and her lovely dog, Tobi. Although her sights are set on becoming a pediatrician because she loves working with kids, she’s open to and curious about everything the medical field has to offer. This includes any opportunities she has to be creative and work outside of the DukeMed community, such as SCOPES, the Student National Medical Association, and paint n’ sips with friends! She’s so excited to see what her SCOPES peers have created for this incredible exhibition!