Communication hasn’t always come easy for Daniel Lamb.
The second-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine student grew up in rural Southern Ohio, living in poverty and homeschooled until he began college.
Lamb credits his undergraduate university’s tutoring services with helping him make it through that first year, when he made what he calls an immensely difficult transition from an intimate educational setting of three (Lamb and his parents) to the large infrastructure of a public university.
“I struggled really badly initially, but I was referred to tutoring services and I got help as a student there. I think it was just that one person giving me help on how to study that made the difference,” says Lamb.
A beginning in health care
He went on to become an emergency room nurse and was then inspired by the physicians around him to continue his education. Today, his goal is to become an emergency medicine physician.
A self-proclaimed workaholic, Lamb has continued with his shifts as an emergency room nurse at Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital while taking on an ever-growing academic load as he studies to become a doctor.
“I find enjoyment in taking care of patients and I think that’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to give it up. It’s the suspense of the unknown that keeps pulling me back to the emergency room,” says Lamb.
Lessons learned as a nurse
Lamb’s career in nursing taught him many life lessons, but communication and teamwork are the two that stand out the most to the second-year medicine student.
“In nursing, you learn to listen to the patient. You also learn the importance of teamwork. You realize that you need everyone on the team – from the physician, who ultimately makes the decisions, to the nurses who are alerting the physician, all the way down to the techs who are helping the nurses and to the housekeeping staff, who help keep things moving smoothly. It’s given me a different kind of viewpoint to better understand the importance of communication,” Lamb explains.
A relatable provider
This student’s down-to-earth communication style allows him to relate to his patients on a personal level.
“It’s an honor to be able to attend to the patient and to care for them. Who cares if you have an M.D. after your name? They don’t care about that. They want you to be real with them. I think that’s what nursing has taught me — is just to be who I am,” he says.
He also knows what it’s like to be a patient in the emergency department. As a 13-year old, Lamb fell out of a tree stand while hunting and broke two vertebrates and one of his arms.
“Having been a trauma patient from my past accident allows me to understand the fear of those presenting to the emergency department. The emergency and trauma teams at Cincinnati Children’s unknowingly instilled a love for emergency by the excellent care they provided,” says Lamb.
It’s Lamb’s upbringing that gives him the ultimate understanding when caring for his current and future patients. All he has to do is reflect on his childhood, he says.
“Growing up poor and seeing my mom and my dad not have money to afford the medications that they needed: That gives me a different perspective on medicine — to be able to understand the patient.”