Charles Bukowski once said, “Wherever the crowd goes, run in the other direction. They’re always wrong.” How does one become a master?  What process do we use to have the highest probability of success? Here are some examples. "Picasso was an extraordinary craftsman, even when measured against the old masters. That he chose to struggle to overcome his visual heritage in order to find a language more responsive to the modern world ...

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On my recent tour of residency programs, I had the pleasure of meeting many foreign medical graduates (a.k.a. FMGs; not to be confused with international medical graduates, who are U.S. citizens who go abroad for medical school). Almost uniformly, they struck me as confident, mature and articulate. Many were older than me, some by as much as 10 or 15 years. Most had extensive research experience, and a few had even ...

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Popular shows like Gray’s Anatomy, ER, and House, MD have given the television watching public a good eyeful when it comes to the inner workings of medicine, hospitals, and emergency rooms. They have also shown us how the personalities of those who take up the stethoscope and reflex hammer run the gamut from the sweet, demure, tentative types to the sons of bitches who cut first and ask questions later. I ...

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As a fourth-year medical student, I love introducing myself to patients as the "extra eyes and ears of the team, so feel free to tell me anything you forgot or would like to address, even if you think it's irrelevant or burdensome. I will be your advocate." As I establish rapport with them, the walls come down, and they often provide important information that helps my team provide the best care ...

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Aristotle said, “To avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” Sometimes I wish I was nothing; surely that would just be so much easier. I screw up all of the time. And I hate it. My latest gaffe was killing our simulated patient by causing him to aspirate. I’m sure no one else in my group is still perseverating on the events that unfolded during the sim. I also ...

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Svetlana Meet Dr. Svetlana Kleyman, a powerhouse chief surgery resident with a heart of gold, who works 16-hour days and runs marathons in her free time. Just 18 months before she was to graduate from SUNY Downstate, she developed a spinal infection that left her paralyzed from the waist down. After months of rehab, she was cleared by her doctors to resume work ...

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There’s a window in the driveway to the dental school that always catches my attention.  Usually, the old, horizontal blinds are hanging at a lopsided, half-open-half-closed stance.  Occasionally, though, they are open all the way, and you can see inside. For the first few months of my dental school education, I felt like that was my only window into dentistry: through the obstructed, double-paned division between me and the dental school ...

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Readers know that I believe that servant leadership should inform leadership and management decisions.  We who have the privilege of having leadership positions at medical schools, therefore, have as a primary responsibility to our students. Being a medical student, while a reward and a privilege, is nonetheless a stressful experience.  The first two years at most U.S. medical schools have the students grinding through the basic sciences related to medicine.  The volume ...

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Every year around Match Day, medical and pre-med students alike worry about a rumored “residency cliff.” The theory is that the number of new medical school graduates will soon outstrip the existing inventory of residency positions, and the overflow applicants will be left in professional limbo. While that picture seems scary, it’s time for some good news. I’ve believed for years that this concern is more phantom than real, but now ...

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I’ll just start this off by saying that I am not exactly sure where I stand on the white coat thing. One part of me loves the white coat as a symbol, a shield against disease, and a place with pockets to put my things; and then there are other days when I just want to throw that germ-ridden cotton barrier to the doctor-patient relationship in the trash, roll up my sleeves, ...

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