Tamra Travers

Exit Interview

Tamra Travers ~

“I’m graduating and leaving our clinic in June.”

Over and over again, in the months leading up to this transition, I break this news to my primary-care patients. I have developed many meaningful relationships with patients over my past three years of training as a family-medicine resident in a large, urban health center in Manhattan. But now it is time to leave and move on.

The fluorescent lights in an overly air-conditioned white clinic room illuminate face after face, all with the same look, staring back at me. Her face drops. His shoulders brace. His eyes shift. Her chronic low back pain tightens its grip. Her once improving mood slips back down. The eight-month-old bouncing and smiling on my lap quickly lunges back to Mom. She senses that her mother is hurting.

Tao in Color small


Tamra Travers

About the artist: 

Tamra Travers is a third year family medicine resident training in New York City. Her professional interests include narrative medicine, integrative medicine, and obstetrics. Originally from Florida, she enjoys the ocean, sunshine, playing outside, and cultivating creativity and curiosity about the world around her. You can find her narrative medicine work on her blog: whitecoatwonder.tumblr.com  

About the artwork:

“I reached out to one of my mentors, Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith, for advice during my very first clinical rotation of medical school in my third year. I was feeling overwhelmed discussing complex, non-treatable problems and suffering from patients day after day on my psychiatry clerkship. His response strongly resonated with me, and years later it became the inspiration for this piece.

This is what he wrote: “You are being given an amazing gift, working with people who are suffering. The most important thing you can do for them is to recognize your feelings and not run from them. Your job is …

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