During my internal medicine rotation, the medical students had the opportunity to attend intern morning report, an interactive teaching session where attending physicians walk the interns through a patient’s story, starting from the moment they hit the door of the emergency room to the final stages of diagnosis and treatment. After discussing the patient’s symptoms, complaints and past medical history, the attendings always ask the group to think carefully about the ...

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recent survey published in H&P, the Stanford medical school magazine, asked twenty graduating students to recommend books to read during the clinical rotation in internal medicine. Surprisingly, the top vote-getters weren’t books at all. The two most popular resources were both banks of practice questions, while the next two included a review book and a pocket handbook. “Is this how our students learn the subtleties of sickness and health? What happened to ...

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Recently, I had the fortune of hearing the tale of Bob and his bum knee.

It all started when Bob picked me up at the end of a busy clinic day in his neon orange Subaru.  Given that this particular shared car service promotes friendly conversation, Bob started up the gab by asking me what position I held in the medical center.  After describing my work as a ...

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During my year as a chief resident, I have the privilege to attend on the general medicine service for 8 weeks. I recently completed 4 weeks and, as expected, found myself in an entirely new realm of patient care and accountability. I would be remiss without recalling a few of the pivotal lessons and poignant moments that stand out. Transitioning from resident to attending inevitably results in greater scrutiny. Despite my best ...

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Placebos work. This isn't news. The term "placebo" was coined 60 years ago to describe how one-third of people respond to pills without any active drug in them. Twenty-five years later, we learned how they work: through endorphins produced by the body that work just like morphine. Today placebos are everywhere: from mothers kissing boo-boos to international drug trials. recent paper, though, shows that all placebos aren't created equal. As expected, ...

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It’s 11:00am when we finish listening to a somewhat pointless series of talks from various medical school administrators on interview day -- one on financial aid, one on the medical curriculum, another on the school’s student organizations. It’s time for the medical school tour. All the applicants rise from their seats in unison, button their suit jackets, pat down any newly formed wrinkles, and lodge their briefcases symmetrically between their arm ...

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I was very happy to come across a new article in the Washington Post discussing the pros and cons of shortening medical school education to three years. This article could not have come at a more timely moment for me, as I just had a discussion about this very topic last week with one of my fourth year medical student colleagues. Sitting in her Chicago condo as she completed modules for an ...

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Pretty much every conversation I’ve ever had about working to change physician culture boils down to two words: “medical education.” That was especially true at the 2013 Lown Institute Conference, which focused on the issue of right care: eliminating harmful overuse and harmful underuse. This comes down to reforming the way today’s physicians practice -- eliminating the ordering of expensive tests and treatments that provide little to no benefit to ...

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One of the many important decisions a future physician will make in his or her career is the medical school they choose to attend. The highly competitive application process is supposedly designed to ensure that our matriculating medical students will be able and wanting to contribute transformative innovation to the communities and institutions in which they end up working. However, given the dynamic nature of our health care system, many ...

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One of my Physician's Weekly posts last month was on the subject of surgeons possibly losing proficiency for doing open cases because of the ever-increasing popularity of laparoscopic and other minimally invasive techniques resulting in declining numbers of open operations for residents during their training. Although some suggested that knowing how to do open cases would be unnecessary in the future, to me that is wishful thinking. Another commenter said, "We are ...

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