Dear intern, It will be the best of times, and it will be the worst of times. But what a special time this will be. It will be a time of learning the details and nuances of clinical medicine — the diagnostic features of sarcoidosis and the second, third and fourth line treatments for community-acquired pneumonia. You will learn how to learn, and you will forget what you learned, only to learn ...

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When I started my intern year, I was told that I was going to be sleep deprived and it was going to be the worst years of my life. Yes, there were times I racked up a sleep debt, but it was for patient care.  And because of the camaraderie and relationships I formed (both inside and outside the hospital), I will forever remember residency with a smile. Rather than the words ...

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Everyone says that medical school gets better, especially third year. The traditional four-year curriculum covers basic science in the classroom for the first two years. Then suddenly, third year plunges us into clinical rotations in the hospital, where we’ve all dreamed of working for so long. Third year is when we transition from learning how to be scientists; we finally learn how to become doctors -- except for one critical, ...

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I will walk into the hospital with a clean, ironed white coat buttoned to the top, dress shoes polished, a tie neatly knotted under my collar, my maroon stethoscope rearing to go -- and I will be largely unprepared for what lies ahead. Along with countless others across the country, I will begin my medical internship, a year considered by many to be the most important in a physician’s working ...

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There was more than one tooth missing, maybe three or four from what he could tell. He held one in his scraped hand as I searched for the others, not sure what I would do with them if I found them. My little sister’s bike laid on top of him, a paperweight on his frail frame. Blood pooled in his mouth and dripped onto his shirt when it ran out ...

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They say the first cut is the deepest. For me, this was definitely not the case. It is a typical Tuesday afternoon, and I am preparing for my third case of the day when the intern I am working with informs me that he needs to leave for clinic. It will be just me and the attending for this next one. I report to the OR, feeling a little nervous and not ...

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Every time I walk into a bookstore, I pass Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air and am reminded of a specific anecdote he shared. Kalanithi, MD, was a seventh-year neurosurgery resident and his lung cancer had metastasized – a process which was only being controlled by a new drug his oncologist had decided to try. But one day, Kalanithi had severe nausea and had to be hospitalized to stay hydrated. A ...

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High-stakes standardized testing is an enduring facet of medical education, and the standardized test that is on every medical student’s mind is the USMLE Step 1. The paramount importance of this test for getting into residency creates a demand for high-quality test preparation materials. Established test prep names like Pathoma, Sketchy Medical, First Aid and UWorld fill that demand in a market consisting of more than 40,000 test takers worldwide ...

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3 a.m. The alarm blares. Get up, make food, study. Maximize caffeine intake, maximize studying efficiency. 4:12 am. Take the last sip of water, pray. Maximize studying with residual caffeine power. 7 a.m. Get dressed, go to work. Stay awake, stay alert, see patients, present well, regurgitate answers, retain information. Produce saliva, clear dry throat. Study during lunch break. Stay awake, stay alert, see patients, present well, regurgitate answers, retain information. 6 p.m. ...

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Delivered at the Harvard Medical School Class Day Ceremony, May 25, 2017. Distinguished faculty, dedicated staff, and most importantly, loving parents and family members: Thank you for all you’ve done to support us and transform us into doctors. Harvard Medical School Class of 2017, congratulations. It is an enormous honor to address you all today. When I was a third-year medical student, I scrubbed in on the surgery of a woman ...

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