Recently, I had the fortune of hearing the tale of Bob and his bum knee.

It all started when Bob picked me up at the end of a busy clinic day in his neon orange Subaru.  Given that this particular shared car service promotes friendly conversation, Bob started up the gab by asking me what position I held in the medical center.  After describing my work as a ...

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During my year as a chief resident, I have the privilege to attend on the general medicine service for 8 weeks. I recently completed 4 weeks and, as expected, found myself in an entirely new realm of patient care and accountability. I would be remiss without recalling a few of the pivotal lessons and poignant moments that stand out. Transitioning from resident to attending inevitably results in greater scrutiny. Despite my best ...

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Placebos work. This isn't news. The term "placebo" was coined 60 years ago to describe how one-third of people respond to pills without any active drug in them. Twenty-five years later, we learned how they work: through endorphins produced by the body that work just like morphine. Today placebos are everywhere: from mothers kissing boo-boos to international drug trials. recent paper, though, shows that all placebos aren't created equal. As expected, ...

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It’s 11:00am when we finish listening to a somewhat pointless series of talks from various medical school administrators on interview day -- one on financial aid, one on the medical curriculum, another on the school’s student organizations. It’s time for the medical school tour. All the applicants rise from their seats in unison, button their suit jackets, pat down any newly formed wrinkles, and lodge their briefcases symmetrically between their arm ...

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I was very happy to come across a new article in the Washington Post discussing the pros and cons of shortening medical school education to three years. This article could not have come at a more timely moment for me, as I just had a discussion about this very topic last week with one of my fourth year medical student colleagues. Sitting in her Chicago condo as she completed modules for an ...

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Pretty much every conversation I’ve ever had about working to change physician culture boils down to two words: “medical education.” That was especially true at the 2013 Lown Institute Conference, which focused on the issue of right care: eliminating harmful overuse and harmful underuse. This comes down to reforming the way today’s physicians practice -- eliminating the ordering of expensive tests and treatments that provide little to no benefit to ...

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One of the many important decisions a future physician will make in his or her career is the medical school they choose to attend. The highly competitive application process is supposedly designed to ensure that our matriculating medical students will be able and wanting to contribute transformative innovation to the communities and institutions in which they end up working. However, given the dynamic nature of our health care system, many ...

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One of my Physician's Weekly posts last month was on the subject of surgeons possibly losing proficiency for doing open cases because of the ever-increasing popularity of laparoscopic and other minimally invasive techniques resulting in declining numbers of open operations for residents during their training. Although some suggested that knowing how to do open cases would be unnecessary in the future, to me that is wishful thinking. Another commenter said, "We are ...

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No one can deny that medical students today face an increasingly competitive environment with a strong focus on board scores and class grades as strong requirements for entrance into competitive specialties. Mirroring the trends in both primary and secondary school, a standardized test has become the yardstick by which all physicians-in-training are compared. The most recent survey reported by the National Resident Matching Program, showed that scores on Step 1 of ...

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While on my inpatient psychiatry rotation, I had the opportunity to work with an adolescent female with a troubled past and a significant history of psychiatric illness. It was through coloring that her barriers broke down and we were able to establish a safe space for difficult conversations. She was safely discharged two weeks after her suicide attempt. As she left, she gave me a hug and handed me this: Through our patients we find ourselves
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