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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I was a junior medical student, wearing a short white coat, pockets stuffed with reflex hammer and spiral bound Washington Manual of Therapeutics, rubber tourniquet and pens and pads. I was on a rotation out at the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. DDEAMC was not too far from my home away from home, the Medical College of Georgia. I think I was in the OB-GYN clinic ...

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Is Physician “Shadowing” a Shady Practice? asks Dr. Elisabeth Kitsis in a post at the Doctor’s Tablet, a blog run through the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She concludes that yes, it is, and invites readers to share their opinions on having high school and college students shadow physicians. I was reminded of my fantastic 8 week shadowing opportunity as a college student through the Project AHEAD program at the 
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The dream was that reason, in the form of the arts and sciences, would liberate humanity from scarcity and the caprices of nature, ignorance and superstition, tyranny, and not least of all, the diseases of the body and the spirit. -Paul Starr, The Social Transformation of American Medicine In a local bookshop just outside of Boston, a small group made their way to their cherished celebrity bookclub. Tucked away on a foldable chair ...

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Just about thirteen percent of the 100,000 plus resident physicians in the United States are union members -- and many more would choose to join if it weren’t for the fierce pressure exerted by some teaching hospitals, chairs and program directors. Although it is illegal to threaten resident physicians with retaliation for expressing their desire to form a union, the law is difficult to enforce.  Ought medical educators examine ...

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How physician education is similar to Master Sommelier training Medical school becomes a blur after a few years in practice. You forget about all the hours spent in classrooms and then every night after a quick dinner. You somehow block out the “pimping” and public humiliation of being questioned about topics not quite under your belt. The worst feeling? The fear of wondering if you will master medicine enough ...

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