A response to "You’re a medical student. And it’s so obvious why." We don’t even have to ask, and we can tell by the bags under your eyes. It’s so obvious that you are a medical student. References in every pocket of your short white coat, pulling down on your shoulders until you hunch over. You force yourself to stand up straight when the attending comes around. We’ve seen you at all ...

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During my family medicine rotation, my very first clinical clerkship of medical school, I received the assignment of making a home visit to one of my preceptor’s patients -- a man I will call Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones had congestive heart failure, COPD, and a barrage of other chronic health problems. He was a pleasant gentleman, but had a low level of health literacy and had been doing a poor job ...

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There he stood at our beach party, the family doctor I grew up admiring. I timidly approached his circle of friends to announce I had gotten into medical school and would start in the fall. He stopped to attention. His friends stood watching. I couldn’t conceal my smile. I thought, “He is going to be so excited for me!” “Get out now.” Before I could respond, he continued. “The profession isn’t ...

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“Write your name on the paper,” he said. Since he was a senior who’d just gotten into medical school, and I was a simple sophomore who’d chosen to attend the session, I did. “Now write Dr. in front of it.” I complied. “If you’re reading that and you don’t feel anything, medicine isn’t for you,” he said. I looked at it again, my name with a Dr. in front of ...

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As a freshman in college, I helped my aunt with her obstetric appointments to try and see what it meant to be an obstetrician. After her delivery, I asked her OB about her college majors, and she told me she majored in history. The next week, I signed up to start my history minor. Was that mentorship? No. Granted, having a liberal arts background has been extremely helpful in my medical ...

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In just under two months, I will be making two big transitions as I begin life as a resident. The first and obvious change is from student to doctor. The second doesn’t get the same spotlight, but might be just as important: from student to teacher. Residents play a vital role in medical student teaching. With medical training like an apprenticeship, it is the residents with whom third-year medical students often ...

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When we got an NIH grant last year to ascertain how teens could get their peers interested in research careers, we did not anticipate turning to Jimmy Kimmel for inspiration. Kimmel’s “Lie Witness News” segment is notorious for asking unsuspecting pedestrians to share their opinions about ridiculous topics from a new "scented" iPhone to the "appointment" of Judge Judy to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the interviews are purely for amusement, ...

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There she lay: a 59-year old woman who had become increasingly disoriented and confused. Not only did she have an infection in her bloodstream, years of alcohol abuse had taken its toll on her liver, leaving her skin yellowed. “Welcome to the ICU,” I thought. In contrast to my previous clinical experience, I found this patient encounter unsettling. No conversation. No personality. No interaction. She was nothing more than a body in a bed punctured ...

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At a recent block party, neighbors asked me questions about the life of a resident. It amazed me how little the general public still knows about the hours a resident works. Over the years, TV shows have shed some light on what the experience of a resident is like, although none are quite realistic, but it is hard to appreciate from a one hour sitcom what it feels like to ...

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“Have you had any horrible problems with wait times?” shouted the reporter as he jogged towards the van pulling out of the parking lot. Leaning in so far that his head actually crossed the window’s threshold yet still audible from across the street, he continued “We’re looking for people who’ve had terrible experiences here!” So it was last week walking in to work at the Durham VA Medical Center. One year ago, ...

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