Journey to becoming Diplomate

Journey to Becoming a Philippine Board of Rehabilitation Medicine Diplomate

Mitchelle P. Gabuya, MD

Ever since I started my journey to weight loss and fitness, I have picked up the mindset of visualizing what I wanted out of it, and how to achieve it. Hence the mantra, “when you cross the finish line, no matter how fast or slow, it will change your life forever”. And change my life, it did.

I have always thought that the journey to becoming a Rehabilitation Medicine Consultant or specialist would be a breeze. But never have I thought that this journey would not be complete without a dash of perseverance to it, a drizzle of patience, a little bit of spice on the side, with a whole lot of heart. And I am proud to say—and equally proud of my co-diplomates as well—that not only have we given the right amount of ingredients to this formula to becoming a specialist, but have also given so much more, that we finally got the privilege to be called a Diplomate.

I remember when I started my journey towards the oral diplomate exam. The nights and days have been spent juggling between work, gym and study—that I didn’t know that the same secret formula would lead me to where I would be—giving a speech in front of everyone. And like I have mentioned that same night: “let us not forget what our mentors here today with us have always emphasized…that knowledge is power, and that we should not stop learning even of the things that we already know”. Just like the future marathons that I would like to join—just because I’ve touched one finish line doesn’t mean I’ve already reached my goal and will stop at that. In the same light as our call to be a Rehabilitation Medicine specialist, just because we have already become Diplomates doesn’t mean that we should stop learning from here. Because the truth is, the real journey as Rehabilitation Medicine practitioners starts once we pass the exam.

Even colleague Dr. JM Lleva’s acceptance speech would agree, as to how each one of us has struggled, juggled and found our way pass the oral diplomate exam with flying colors. And with that, we will always be thankful as well for the greater minds that have honed us. And of course, to our parents who have always been our guiding light and pillar, always supportive of our dreams and decisions. As I will quote my speech, “I know you’ve asked the same question yourselves—bakit nga ba Rehab?,” a question that will always puzzle even our doctors from other specialties.

That same night, the DOH Undersecretary for Health, Dr. Rolando Enqirue D. Domingo, DPBO, had also made a call to heed the lack of specialists working in the province. And particularly, for the Department of Health, which had always stood as the beacon for serving health to the underserved. Brave as it may sound, but proudly, some of us had already heeded that call to work in the province and extend our expertise as Rehabilitation Medicine specialists to those who need our service. And with that, we can now almost quote the saying “no man was left behind”. And it is also my wish that hopefully one day, more doctors would assume their roles in the provinces to help the underserved and deliver expert care to those in need.

But at the end of the day, let us not forget to pat ourselves on the back and say that, no matter how high or low I got in the exam; how high or low I ranked in the race, but “when I cross the finish line, no matter how fast or slow, it will change my life forever”.

And so our journey begins from here.