I am not a doctor.  (Yet.)  I am a novice third-year medical student, somewhat able to perform and document a physical exam on a sleeping child, to dial the correct number to call a consult and to make wild guesses about chest X-rays (“I see a consolidation?”). I write about medicine not from a position of experience, but of malleability.  I want to become like the best doctors I see. Towards ...

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This article was originally presented as student remarks at the 2015 Harvard Medical School commencement.  At the end of medical school, I always return to a musing, a zen koan of sorts from Dean Jeffrey Flier. At my white coat ceremony, a close friend and current resident, Dr. Nina Gold was chatting with the dean about the heft of our newly bestowed bright white coats. He asked her, in one beautiful ...

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More and more health care practitioners are turning to social media for their medical education. Fellows are learning ultrasound from Snapchat, nurses are learning how to insert NG tubes from watching YouTube, and learners are learning pathophysiology from blogs and podcasts. To reach this audience with credible and reliable content, it is important for medical educators to be present where the learners are, and that means social media. Users are also ...

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I don’t think I would be the first resident to claim that residency is hard. Anyone who has gone through, or is currently participating in residency, will attest to the challenge of medical training. Efforts have been made on national and institutional levels to address this with work hour restrictions limiting the number of hours a resident can work or the number of calls a trainee can take. These rules ...

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When my husband Brian started first-year of medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, I jettisoned off to Thailand to spend a year teaching English and traveling.  We figured if we were going to date long-distance, why not go all in? Why not ensure that we were a full 12 hours apart, on literal opposite sides of the world. What can I say? We like a ...

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A white coat ceremony address to the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, August 4, 2017. "It takes a village" is one of my favorite proverbs, an African proverb, that resonates with each of us on this monumental day. There is without a doubt that every one of you worked very hard to get into medical school. However, this difficult journey was supported by dozens of important individuals: teachers, ...

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A couple of weeks ago, I met my new medical students. These 10-12 trainees will be my small group for the next two years. We will meet monthly to discuss the soft stuff of medical training — hierarchy, tribalism, death and dying, medical errors, difficult patients, etc. Some call it “third-year medical student support group.” This is my 6th year of the pleasure and privilege (I inherited my first group ...

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Last month, thousands of medical students donned their white coats as they took their first steps into hospitals nationwide to begin clinical rotations. This marks an important transition from the classroom into an actual inpatient setting to demonstrate the knowledge they’ve accumulated over the past two years. For most students, this means pretending to hear and correctly identify heart and breath sounds while agreeing with whatever the attending says. During ...

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There is a feeling that you get when you’re out at a dinner party standing and smiling at strangers as they walk by you -- a temptation to rest on the “wow" factor of your medical training. Partly because peacocking is inherent to social events such as these, but partly because you fear that you’re inherently boring to people outside your field. The surest way, you think, is to announce ...

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I've had some of the most wonderful experiences of my entire medical training working with kids and their families. And this, to me, is not surprising. After all, I envisioned myself as a pediatrician long before I ever entered medical school. However, I remember that more frequent news of declining vaccination rates at one point temporarily gave me pause: What would it be like to take on the tremendous responsibility of ...

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