“C-section at OR 3,” said the clerk at the neonatal ICU (NICU). We then sped to the prep area to enter the OR as soon as we could. Once geared up, we entered the OR and waited for the new addition to the NICU family. Mom had no prenatal care, but we knew she had used multiple illicit drugs throughout the pregnancy, she was young, had a history of psychiatric disease, ...

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“It won’t be the last sacrifice you make for medicine.” These were the words my surgical intern said between yawns as I expressed regret at having to miss a distant cousin’s wedding. The digital wall-clock read a blurry 3:15 a.m. as we sat together in the on-call room, the coffeemaker dripping black gold into the pot. She had three pagers affixed to her scrub pants which would beep intermittently in turn, signaling anything ...

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I made it through the rigors of pre-med. I made it through (almost all of) med school, with a few scars to show for it. And now that I’m a big, bad MS4, I finally have the time and the distance to reflect on all the literal blood, sweat, and tears it took to get here. I am a loud and proud Duke Blue Devil. It was my dream school despite ...

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Dear future doctor, Please remember. Remember what it feels like to be a patient. Remember the pain, remember the anguish of the unknown, remember the detours of being referred from one physician to the next, and how you hoped that this doctor would  finally be able to diagnose you and empathize with your suffering. Remember the agony of not knowing what caused the mysterious, writhing pain; however, at the same time being ...

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Over the past month, I’ve slowly rediscovered my love for writing. Though I have never considered myself a strong writer, I have fond memories of it providing an outlet for my thoughts. The history essays that everyone dreaded writing in high school were some of my favorite assignments. I spent days wording and rewording my sentences while my classmates wrote them quickly the night before they were due. It felt ...

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After finishing three years in medical school, I recently moved over to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. I decided to pursue an MBA in addition to my MD and will graduate two years from now with both degrees. I’m not alone. There are 11 MD/MBA candidates in my business school class, including nine from Stanford. Our cohort is part of a small but growing trend towards doctors obtaining business training. The ...

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In a recent TED Talk, businesswoman Margaret Heffernan explored a very interesting and relevant topic. She touched on the subject of productivity by referring to an experiment by William Mure, an evolutionary biologist. In this experiment, Mure set out to prove whether a flock of chickens could be more productive by filling it with what he termed “super chickens.” Basically, these super chickens were the top egg producers out of the ...

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I am currently a fourth-year medical student, and I will not accept mediocrity in my life any longer (and neither should you). When you were growing up did you ever wish for happiness? Did you ask for a good life? Did you want to feel fulfilled and self-actualized? Yeah me too. We are meant to reach for the stars, we are meant to go for our dreams, and we are meant ...

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As the process of applying to medical school and residency becomes hyper-competitive, we medical students often feel forced to pursue our passions only in ways that are “high yield.” It may seem counterintuitive, but the further we go in our medical training, the more inertia we seem to have about giving our time and energy to the everyday people in need. We’re so pressed for time from our participation in ...

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One cold February morning during my third year of medical school, I walked through the entrance of the rural hospital where I was doing a nine-month rotation and made my way to the nurses' station. Feeling the warmth return to my face, I set down my coat and bag and hung my stethoscope around my neck. The charge nurse, Barb, waved me to her computer. "Kristie, you have a patient." She shuffled through ...

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