July is back, and clinical faculty at teaching hospitals have again braced for the annual deluge of new residents just beginning their specialty training. Unfortunately, our new doctors may be more unprepared than ever. The gap between medical school (the four years leading to the MD degree) and residency (advanced training in a particular field) has widened over the past several years. Changes in the health care system, shifting patient expectations, ...

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Much is made of the date July 1st in the medical profession.  Freshly graduated physicians begin their training career in medicine as interns.  Although technically physicians, these interns are new to the clinical practice of medicine and all that comes with that.  Much has been made of the experience of the new intern.  Samuel Shem's House of God is a renowned novel about medical training.  Countless television series, chronicle the ...

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As a researcher, there may come a time when you interact with the media. It may make you cringe; for traditional research publications, we have the protection of editing, and feedback from mentors and colleagues. Interviews feel much more risky: Questions are unpredictable, and there is seldom an opportunity to polish the product before it goes into the wild. Yet, interacting with the media offers an opportunity to garner attention ...

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The USA trains its physicians differently from every other Western country I know. Everyone (with rare exceptions) who goes to medical school first must get a four-year undergraduate college degree in something. There are no such degrees in medicine, although the overwhelming majority of students going on to medical school major in one of the sciences, such as chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. If they don’t major in a science, they generally ...

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Your medical school personal statement is one of the most important components of your application. This short essay can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you will spend the remainder of your life practicing medicine. To be honest, most personal statements will be similar enough that they’ll fit right in with the rest. There will be a handful that stand out above the majority, and if you can ...

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When I was in high school, I remember being fascinated by the television series House the medical mystery show whose title character was the doctor version of Sherlock Holmes (only with non-existent ethics and a drug problem). Back then, of course, I didn’t have much understanding of the medicine behind the show, but I was impressed by the show’s apparently realistic use of medical terminology and the way it made the ...

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The stethoscope is dying.” That’s the word on the wards. Clunky and less precise than what modern technological advances allow, many say it will soon find itself useful as only a historical artifact of 19th and 20th-century medicine. While it may pain many clinicians,  it’s tough to argue the stethoscope’s immunity to Moore’s law. As technology allows us to make better, more accurate tools, we embrace them as ...

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After four brutal years of medical school, my colleagues and I finally obtained our medical degrees. As graduation approached, I couldn’t help but reflect on the whole experience, but when I tried discussing the matter with my friends, I discovered that we all had difficulty articulating the precise concoction of emotions we were feeling. Most simply summed up the feeling as “weird.” On graduation eve, however, I found myself in ...

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For many people in medical training, one period of time that they look forward to is the elective period. Most of the time, these periods are available for people to explore potential career opportunities, whether it is a certain subspecialty or a research opportunity. Usually, people are not on call and weekends are free, luxuries that are often sparse during the rigors of medical training. Most of the time, one ...

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I handed her the humungous gardening shears and watched as she snapped through each rib providing access to the silent heart of our cadaver. Abruptly, the fire alarm rang out cutting short the most physically taxing day of our yearlong anatomy lab course. Once we had evacuated, firemen streamed into the building, and I wondered if my lab-mates were also thinking about the horrific scene these men would encounter as ...

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