I recently graduated from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech. Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of training in your community at Augusta Health. The medical students see patients at the local detention center, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, numerous nursing homes and the Augusta Regional Clinic, and they even do home visits for hospice service. While not a native of Virginia, I have had the honor to call Waynesboro my home.
I am writing this letter to first of all thank the Shenandoah Valley community. The patients who I have encountered are some of the most genuine, selfless and hard-working people I have ever met. I have laughed with you, cried with you, prayed with you and have lied awake at night hoping for miracles. I will never forget my first patients here with illnesses that I had only read of in textbooks.
I’ve been continually impressed by the quality of care the patients receive here in the Valley at Augusta Health. From the Cardiology Catheter Lab, to the radiation oncology capabilities of the Cancer Center, to the robotic surgeries that are performed here, patients are receiving state-of-the-art care from top-notch physicians who have had some of the best training from across the country.
As a result of my rotations here in Augusta County, I found my calling to be a psychiatrist. While I do not know where I will end up for residency yet, I will always remember how medicine is practiced in the Valley, and it will inform my practice of medicine for the rest of my life. The nurses, staff and physicians are members of the community and genuinely enjoy serving it. They see their roles as not just jobs, but vocations of service to the sick and dying.
With my parting words, I would like to say this: If you happen to be seen by a medical student, please be kind. Medical students make huge personal sacrifices to train to be physicians. We may be slower at doing physical exams or taking histories, but we are trying to cultivate our skills to become the best doctors we can be. Also, know that we are not “experimenting” on you, but we are giving our attending physicians a second set of eyes. Attending physicians who teach are among the best in their fields. They must keep up-to-date with the most current medical literature. Perhaps, most importantly, they are perpetually driven to make sure that the next generation of physicians is competent enough to take care of them should they fall ill.
—Travis J. Dichoso, DO, Blacksburg