I was a few weeks into my surgery clerkship and was on the tail end of a student call shift. I had been at the hospital for almost 24 hours, and the last thing left to do before I embraced the comfort of my own bed was to round with the faculty surgeon on call that weekend. The night had been busy, but I was prepared to update my attending ...

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Dear parents, Congratulations on your daughter’s acceptance into medical school.  Like the first day of kindergarten, this launch is notable for parents as well as children. You may have some concerns about the stresses she will face. Having been there, I can tell you there will be many.  Not to worry, though. Times are changing.  You daughter is free to learn among the brightest of the bright while avoiding problems women before ...

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Ezekiel Emanuel, the University of Pennsylvania physician and ethicist, has written an opinion piece suggesting many changes in both pre-medical education and the medical school curriculum. He would do away with many of our hallowed medical school prerequisites such as calculus, physics, and organic chemistry, feeling that those subjects are simply used to "weed out" certain students. I confess I once believed that such subjects were worthwhile. However, Emanuel makes a ...

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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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