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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In his famous novel, Moneyball, Michael Lewis illustrates the phenomenon of professional baseball scouts focusing on all the wrong characteristics when looking at players. He describes how scouts focus on fastball velocity as a way to compare pitchers, despite the lack of correlation between fastball speed and the quality of a pitcher. As it turns out, the most important factor in a pitcher is deception, not a high-velocity fastball. The ...

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The other day I was sitting at home looking out the window at an achingly crisp, clear blue sky.  A slight, cool breeze was wafting through that open window, and faint birdsong accented a view of tree tops in blooms of pink, red, and white.  The blue-tinged mountains were hovering in the distance, proud and majestic. Only, no.  I was actually at work.  Underground.  In front of a computer screen, whose ...

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Imagine taking the MCAT, applying to schools, getting interviews and even being accepted into medical school. How would it feel knowing your dedication has paid off? I felt great, as I had studied hard and made sacrifices others were unwilling to make. As I saw the finish line for what would be the beginning of medical school, I began to ask myself, “Should I continue onwards toward medical school or ...

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When I entered college, I wanted to be a chemistry major. I had no idea what college chemistry would be like, but it was the class I loved most in high school and something I was pretty good at. The town I grew up in had little more than 3,000 people and more gas stations than stop lights. My school didn’t have Advanced Placement classes or partnerships with local hospitals ...

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Congratulations on your acceptance to medical school! Wherever you’re starting this fall, know that you’re joining a “cult” of health care professionals and health care professionals-to-be. No matter how little you know, you’ll be asked for medical advice. And the more you learn, the less likely you’ll be able to sit through an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” without picking out the make believe. We’re right there with you. Medical school is a ...

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Fireworks, champagne toasts, sparkly hats, and the ball drop are all items that we conger up in our minds as we think of the New Year. For the majority of the world, January 1st represents the transition from one year to another on the calendar. New resolutions are made, and there is a global fresh start. However, for those of us in the medical field, there is another new year ...

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