Book review: Becoming Dr. Q
Updated: Jan 7, 2021
The story of Dr. Alfredo Quinones Hinojosa is one of passion, commitment, love and incredible tenacity. Becoming Dr. Q is his book on his journey from being an illegal migrant worker to graduating Harvard Medical School and now the chair of neurosurgery in Mayo Clinic. He wonderfully describes how near-death experiences and his love for his patients and his family shaped his career and never ceases to acknowledge those who played a role in his successes.
He openly talks about the struggles as a Mexican in the U.S., his very real and relatable doubts and fears of not doing enough, not being good enough, and finding a balance in being a good husband and father.
1. Why Dr. Q’s approach to patient care changed my perspective in patient-doctor relationships
Throughout my career as a medical student, I have asked the same question to doctors and consultants many times: “How do you detach your patients’ emotions and suffering from your own?” We feel deeply the suffering of patients and at many points felt almost angry at modern medicine for not being able to relieve their suffering. We are taught to learn to emotionally detach ourselves from our work, for fear of becoming too attached to our patients and emotionally compromising ourselves.
Dr. Q however, seeks a different approach. He beautifully writes:
“Conventional wisdom holds that the best coping method for physicians who battle deadly tumors is to learn to distance themselves—to create a wall between the job they must do and the reality of their patients’ suffering. If anything, I wanted to tear down walls—or at least hop over them!—not build them. Disconnecting from my patients so that I would not feel their pain? This made no sense to me. How could I be a good physician if I denied my own humanity? Therefore, I understood why “It never gets easier.”
His care and concern he has for each and everyone of his patients, treating them as his own friends and family, made him a great doctor and researcher.
2. How Dr. Q changed the way I thought about the direction of our careers.
“Wherever you land, you’ll be creating opportunities for others. If you remember that, you’ll be surprised by how far you can go”
We often think about where we can get the most opportunities out of the places we go, but have we ever considered how much more people we can affect through actively thinking of ways to create opportunities for others?
3. How Dr. Q inspires us to never settle for less than our dreams
“Filter out the noise of lowered expectations”
Ever since he crossed the border into the United States, Dr. Q has worked harder than anyone else to survive, thrive and become one of the most successful neurosurgeons in the world. He beat all odds through a steadfast will to succeed, despite the many who questioned his capabilities solely on his accent and race.
Your dreams are never too big. From figuring out how to cure cancer to creating the next big innovation, filter out the noise of those who say you can’t. Use your commitment and passion and funnel them to the right ears who support you. Even when feeling overwhelmed by the failures that will inevitably come, seek out those who support you.
I have so much more to add but before I reveal any more spoilers, grab yourself this book and it will not disappoint!
Amazon affiliate link: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/Becoming-Dr-Journey-Migrant-Surgeon/dp/0520274563/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g1285150262?_encoding=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&ie=UTF8