“Son, just let me die.” Those were the first words Mr. O. told me as I introduced myself. As a 75-year-old stage IV lung cancer patient with brain metastasis, Mr. O knew his time on this planet was limited -- the last place he wanted to be was in a hospital with a newly minted clinical student. Mr. O’s neighbor had found him unconscious on his porch earlier this morning, and ...

Read more...

The abandoned retractor clatters dangerously close to the other edge of the sterile field, saved only by the quick reflexes of the scrub nurse. The attending lets out a brief laugh, “I guess we’re using the Madagascar technique,” then it’s back to the operation at hand. Minutes pass as I continue to stand in my assigned place at the attending’s side, prepared to offer whatever meager contribution I can to ...

Read more...

IMG_2940a KevinMD It was recently Match Day. At 12 noon EST, medical students all over the United States simultaneously opened envelopes which revealed the destination of their residency training. The tradition is an exhilarating and emotional event for everyone involved. For medical students, it is a milestone that symbolizes a dramatic life change and a new adventure. It marks the culmination of years of hard ...

Read more...

When I first seriously began discussing the possibility of applying to medical school with my family and close friends, I received mixed reactions. Although medicine seemed like a great fit for me in many ways, I also heard sad stories about relationships and even entire families that had struggled to survive the strenuous period of medical training (particularly residency). As somebody who values family and close relationships highly, I was ...

Read more...

My "aha" moment wouldn't come at the signing of my leave of absence contract. Nor would it awaken me at night with the chair-gripping dizziness I had come to expect. When the vertigo started in early December during my third block of clerkship, I chalked the symptoms up to stress. Over the December break, I met with my family doctor and casually recounted my symptoms. The vertigo had worsened, and seemed questionably ...

Read more...

As health care settings become more focused on patient experience and care for the whole person, issues of culture, diversity, personal beliefs, and values have come to the forefront. Staff are expected to deliver not only high-quality clinical care but to do so with compassion and care. Neither of these elements are new, but they are gaining attention as health care is increasingly measured on a number of quality indicators, ...

Read more...

DearPamela-900x607 Hi Pamela, I’m a medical student in the UK. Though I’ve only been in med school since September, it has already taken its toll on me. Before I started, I was so in touch with my emotions, spirituality, and nature. Now I feel so empty and desensitized. I hate that when faced with the horrible circumstances of another person, I just don’t feel ...

Read more...

A surgical resident writes:

I’m sure you have read several recent studies suggesting that current general surgery residents are poorly trained and unprepared for independent practice at the completion of residency. My questions for you: 1. In general, do you agree that current general surgery residents are poorly trained and unable to operate independently at the completion of residency? 2. What should we do differently? I personally don’t feel that “more simulation activities,” which ...

Read more...

Even as a child, I noticed that many people, especially my Depression-era grandmother, feared aging and the imminence of death. Death was no stranger to me growing up; I lost my then best friend, my Nano, and my uncle as a child, both traumatically. Yet, death was sad, but natural. Because of this, I never understood our society’s stigma against dying, something that I've struggled with even in medical school. In ...

Read more...

This question has been circulating in the academic medical world for years. As an intern and resident, I would hear complaints about how "unready" they seemed. The grievances often include adjectives like ill-prepared, lazy,  or uninterested.  The complaints have burgeoned over time, and the examples are numerous in my institution: Students show up late to rounds with coffee in their hands; one med student had the gall to go directly to the attending and ...

Read more...

Most Popular