By: Dr. Joanabeth Aguirre

Delivered during the RMC Graduation Ceremonies

February 6, 2017

 Dr. Joanabeth Aguirre


(Dr. Joanabeth Aguirre is a graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. She was the Chief Resident of the Department of Internal Medicine from January to June 2016 and was given the award of ‘Most Outstanding Resident’, during the Graduation Ceremonies of Rizal Medical Center.)

First, I would like to thank our Medical Center Chief, Dr. Relito Saquilayan; our Chief of Medical Professional Staff, Dr. Maria Rica Lumague; our Chief Training Officer, Dr. Primo Valenzuela; our consultants, parents and guests. Thank you for celebrating this milestone with us.  And good morning.

I was never a model student, and I honestly didn’t think I was outstanding in anything; so, when I was informed that I was the Most Outstanding Resident, the first thing I uttered was “Why me?”  This question was immediately followed by another one, “Are you serious?” Then when I was told I had to make a speech, my anxiety skyrocketed because I’m an introvert and I don’t know anything about giving speeches; however, I’m a firm believer in the saying “Everything happens for a reason.” So here I am, standing in front of you with my voice shaking… so please bear with me.

 The first time I set foot here in RMC was during my internship, and I’ll never forget how blasé I was when I answered the question, “why RMC?”  My answer then was “because I pass by it on my way home.”  But during that 1 year internship, I was able to grasp and fully understand the 3 Cs that my alma mater kept on pushing for us to have – those 3 Cs stand for compassion, competence, and commitment. Before, I had always told my mom that she was exaggerating whenever she said that a peso can mean a lot to others, until I saw a patient who stayed in the waiting area for 3 days because he did not have enough money for him to go home. I also saw how thankful patients were for any medical assistance we were able to offer during those times, even if they had to wait in line for hours. I had also seen the look of devastation on the faces of our patients’ relatives whenever they were late in bringing their loved ones to the hospital or whenever their loved ones were deemed “toxic already” just because they lacked the funds to seek immediate medical attention. Those things I had seen and learned affected me so much that I promised myself that I would come back here for residency, or at least train in any government medical institution. That 1 year internship made me grasp the reality that our less fortunate brothers are the ones who really needed more and yet are being given less. So, I came back here for residency training for the reason that I wanted to give service to those who badly need them.  I wanted to give back because those kinds of patients really changed my outlook in life. Some doctors might say that you must be impressive academically in order for you to be a good one but I beg to differ. I think you need to feel for your patients and understand them more so that you’ll perceive them as your responsibility. Once you’ve felt that, I’m sure you’ll study more and work harder not for yourself, but for them, the people who really matter; they are the ones who will see how much you care and who will tell you themselves how great you really are not just as a doctor, but as a person as well.

 However, one cannot strive for greatness on the merits of compassion alone especially for us who were training at the time.  We also needed guidance, which was given to us in abundance by our consultants. We will forever be grateful for everything you’ve taught us. You’ve inspired us with the knowledge and experiences you’ve selflessly shared. You’ve pushed us to be better doctors and you’ve dreamt with us to exceed or at least reach your level of success in this professional field. And when the time comes that we’ve finally reached it, we can proudly say that we’ve achieved that level of success because we had great mentors.

 To our entire hospital staff, the nurses and midwives who have been our main partners in providing medical care; the aids, technicians, housekeepers, pharmacists and administrative people who have been doing their share in providing quality service; the security department who ensures our safety and call us whenever we double park.  I just want to say “thank you.” Thank you for making us feel that we are indeed a part of a team. All of you made our stay here worthwhile and memorable.

Lastly, to my fellow residents, after all the sleepless nights, time lost with our family and friends, countless presentations, misunderstandings, exams and voluminous scolding from our previous seniors, I would like to say congratulations; we’ve earned it. I also wish you success in whatever path it is you plan to take. Also, please always remember, that we treat with our minds, but we heal with our touch.

So… just keep on touching people’s lives…