One of the most respected and skilled clinician-educators — of course, he is an infectious diseases specialist — at our institute came into my office, sat down and immediately starting eating pretzels. “Let me know what you think about this,” he said between bites. He went on to recapitulate a recent interaction he had with the members of the internal medicine team (medical students, house staff and the attending physician) ...

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William Osler once said, “Listen to your patient; he is telling you the diagnosis.”  Anybody who practices medicine knows that is easier said than done. The ability to take a skillful history takes years to develop. There are many nuances in a medical history and physicians must know the right questions to ask. The next step is to avoid asking the wrong questions and the wrong wording of the right ...

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Two posts on KevinMD highlight the problems facing many medical students today. The first was by an anonymous rising fourth-year student who has come to the conclusion that going to medical school was “a terrible, terrible decision.” It ended with a comment that medical school “is not fun. It’s jarring, scary, disappointing and absolutely depressing.” The second was by another anonymous student who described how miserable he (or ...

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It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You often hear this analogy about the medical training process, but, having run a few marathons myself, I think it’s particularly apt. I'm working my way through my fourth and final year of residency now, and I can attest that running marathons was one of the better things that prepared me mentally for the challenges of med school and beyond. 26.2 miles is no trivial ...

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The national Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) strives to “recognize students, residents and faculty who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine.” This society relies initially on a validated peer nomination tool to identify medical students who embody clinical competence, caring, and community service. Upon discovering this emphasis on peer nomination, I began to question my own humanism, wondering which ...

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Back in September, an Inside Stanford Medicine article featured my first-year medical school class on our first day of anatomy. It spoke of learning anatomy and having the privilege to work on real donors’ bodies as a “rite of passage,” something all medical students must do to really discover the human body. We were all very excited, yet timid, on that first day of anatomy class, I remember. Afraid ...

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I am always on a quest to be helpful. For this reason, a life in medicine has always made perfect sense to me. My interest in surgery also developed early when I had been performing music for Alzheimer’s patients in high school. It was almost unbelievable to help these individuals reconnect with their memories and surroundings through my music. But I left each day frustrated and aching, knowing that these ...

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It was 1 a.m. on a Sunday night on call, and we were waiting patiently for admissions in the resident workroom. We were four near-perfect strangers, yet we had one thing in common: our challenges we faced in maintaining relationships. Was it truly because of our shared profession of medicine or because of our similar personalities that led us into the field? We realized we struggled preserving our current relationships ...

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Dear future colleague, What a tremendous thing it is to know you are becoming a physician!  You are devoting your life and talents to the betterment of the health of your future patients, your local community, and our entire society.  You have responded to the call to serve in a profession that is hundreds of years old, steeped in tradition but vehemently progressive, always changing, and vowing to remain abreast of ...

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I recently gave a teaching workshop focused on giving feedback. Thrilled to share my passion for medical education, I excitedly prepared my slides, ready to discuss tools that can help make someone a more effective educator. Despite the evidence and the recommendations from well-known educators I presented, there was an attendee that was dubious. The inevitable question arose, “But, why?” Why, this person asked, take the time to give feedback when ...

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