If you can keep your head when one is crowning,
And be peaceful when all is going well;
If you can swim against the tide that’s drowning
So many people under profit’s swell;

If you can hear the fear among the nervous,
And tell a tear will trickle sometime soon;
If you can see yourself in lifelong service,
Yet save that special family afternoon;

If your wisdom can comfort many mothers;
If you hold the wrinkled hand, brand new or old;
And do so much to help so many others,
And keep the secrets you alone are told;

If you can tell that every life’s a story,
And listen close to hear the common strains;
If you can face the grim, the gross, the gory;
And often cure, but always ease the pain;

If you can deal with chaos and with humdrum,
Finding every day a new way you can grow;
If you know the community you come from,
Yet sometimes simply say just, “I don’t know”;

If you can fill the asystolic minute
With 10 cc’s of IV bicarb run;
Then walk out to the waiting room and in it
Share the failure of everything you’ve done;

If you can talk with calm and walk with power,
Treat common people with uncommon care;
If you see change as springtime’s future flower;
Yet keep the faith to which you’re honored heir;

If you can help with everybody’s illness,
And share the power knowledge can unlock;
If you can fill long silences with stillness,
Then you will know that you’re a Family Doc.

William R. Phillips, MD, MPH

See the original published poem.

Copyright © 2003 WR Phillips. Originally published in: Phillips WR. If. Family Practice Management. 2004 Jan;11(1):80.

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