“Congratulations! Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!”1


You’re off to new places, different and scary,

You’ll be all alone when cases get hairy.

You’ll be the last call, where the buck finally stops.

You’ll make the tough calls in all your new shops.


Are you frightened? I would be. Nervous? You should be.

Some patients will die though you’re the best that you could be.

Some patients will gripe though you’re always caring.

Some patients will thank you, but those will be sparing.


You’ll have grave misgivings after calling a code.

You’ll also lose sleep over ones you sent home.

You’ll log in to EPIC each morning to see things

Like whether that patient you tubed is now breathing.


But all of those worries simply go to show

that you are good doctors, and all of you know

What to do when quick thinking and action are needed,

When to transfer patients you’ve triaged and treated.


You know when to fight to get what is best,

And when to put challenging cases to rest.

You can diagnose problems when others have missed ’em.

You know how to work in a broken health system.


You know how to care for the various pains,

Of rhomboid and deltoid and inner groin strains.

You can set broken bones, diagnose injured brains.

Repair lacs, reduce joints, do incisions and drains.


You can take care of patients who are having MIs,

or CHF, CVAs, and URIs,

TIAs, GSWs, and PFOs,

UTIs, STIs, and those DFOs.


10 smart docs, you know what you’re about,

When things go south you can say without doubt,

That you did your best, you did what you should.

You tried your hardest, you did all you could.


But it’s also important you care what you do,

That you don’t let the stress and the strife get to you.

When you tell a new mother her child is ill,

A burden that you cannot cure with a pill.


When you explain why colds don’t need antibiotics,

Or why you’re not willing to prescribe more narcotics.

These conversations take patience and love,

And in those areas you’re three cuts above.


If you’re ever unsure about what you should do,

When pressures are mounting to move patients through,

When the hospital’s full and the waiting room packed-in,

And five EMS trucks have just then backed in,


If the system abusers with chronic conditions,

Who come for the five hundred thousandth admission,

Make you feel as if you can take it no longer,

Your compassion’s fatigued where it used to be stronger.


If core measures and metrics are things you abhor,

If admin and charts grind you into the floor,

If bean counters keep showing patients the door,

And with less time and money, demand you do more.


If door to doc times carry more bearing

Than talking to patients, compassion, and caring,

First and foremost, and come what may

Do what’s right for the patient, each shift, and each day.


Remember why you went into it all:

To help people be healthy. And always recall

The training you received and your residency,

Where you are still family to the faculty.


We’ve worked alongside you, these last few years,

We’ve watched you gain skills through smiles and tears,

And at ACEP in Boston, we shared a few beers.

So tonight is for you! Well done and three cheers.


You’ve touched hundreds of lives. You’ll touch thousands more.

You’re board eligible when you walk out this door.

You’ve more wits and smarts than the average MD.

And you should be proud of all you’ve achieved.


You’re well trained, you’re quick, and you’re ready to go.

Your futures are bright! And one thing you should know:

No matter how near or how far you may stray

Remember, we’re only a phone call away.


So be your name Pemberton, Lentz, or Lu,

Montoya, Bria, Jones, or, Matthews,

Pisula, Armstrong, or finally True,

We all simply couldn’t be prouder of you.


1 Opening stanza from “Oh the Places You’ll Go ” by Dr. Seuss, Random House Publishing, 1990

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