This quarter of medical school has by far been my favorite, because almost everything we do has an explicit clinical correlation. Each week we work in small groups of 10 or so students to go over patient cases, practice respiratory and cardiovascular (our two organ blocks this quarter) physical exam skills, and interface with real patients in the hospital. These experiences have been both exciting and humbling, and two in ...

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A few months ago, we had an opportunity for one-on-one time with standardized patients (SPs): the trained actors that are well-versed in how us medical school fledglings should and shouldn’t be performing physical exams. It was a laid-back, non-graded session wherein we could ask for advice and even have the SPs walk us through exactly what we should do. So, when it came time for the abdominal exam, I asked my ...

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"Ultimately, I am convinced that in my future lies not simply a profession performed ably, but a vocation performed lovingly and devotedly." Soon, after the coming pomp and circumstance fade into fond memories and well-framed photographs, I will be in the hospital. Soon, I will have my own patients in the clinic. With these occasions, life will be what I hoped it once would be some years ago – being a ...

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Recently, I began to think of death as a friend. My grandfather was hospitalized on Mother’s Day, and by the time my parents called me on Monday morning they couldn’t tell me anything more than, “He’s in the ICU with multiple seizures. They’re taking him off ventilation tomorrow.” Reaching for the knowledge I’ve spent all year chipping away at textbooks to acquire, I asked about neurologic exams, autonomic drugs and ...

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I remember opening that email. The overwhelming weight of nervous emotion that collapsed into a wave of ecstasy as I read, then re-read, then read again those words: “Congratulations. You have been accepted.” That moment marked the end of so much. The destination had been reached. The long nights of studying made worthwhile, the pre-requisites taken and survived. Trying to compile an accurate reflection of one’s life wading through resumes, CVs, ...

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Whatever we learn to do, we learn by actually doing it; men come to be builders, for instance, by building, and harp players by playing the harp. -Aristotle I groaned. "Don't make me operate with him again! I assisted him in surgery just last week!" I was low man on the totem pole and there was no point arguing. All of the residents and fellows kept track of the rotation and I knew ...

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I argue with my father a lot. He works as an intensivist at a community hospital in Indianapolis while I am about to graduate from a highly academic internal medicine program in Chicago. Needless to say, we have very different perspectives. He sometimes expresses views similar to those written in an article, “When I Was a Resident: How Duty Hour Rules Are Creating a Lost Generation of Physicians." I started ...

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He was my first patient -- ever. I had seen only a few patients before at my school’s student-run clinics, but never had I conducted a full visit. He was my first patient since starting the second semester of my first year, which meant more independence on my part (theoretically), and that, for the first time, I would be holding the office visit from beginning to end. Without guidance. Of ...

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When I graduated from my residency, far from my current professional home, I wanted to write a book called How Not to Get Yelled At in the Operating Room. Or How to Clear the Fear from Your OR. I had these titles in mind because I struggled so much during my intern year. It was a tough year, full of intense patient care and sleep deprivation, but the challenge that I most wanted help ...

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I recently served as a preceptor for first year students at our Hofstra-North Shore LIJ School of Medicine who were doing one of their RIA (reflection, integration and assessment) sessions. The students do these sessions every 12 weeks, and are generally scheduled with the same preceptor over time. It may be routine for the students, but I found it absolutely remarkable. Each student is responsible for doing a complete history and ...

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