The scene at the resident teaching session was all too familiar: Awkward silence with either blank stares or brows furrowed in deep valleys of confusion. As I scanned the room, I recognized the moment many lecturers experience: I had completely lost my audience. And, whatever I had planned for the next 10 minutes, would now be spent “taking a step back.” We weren’t talking about a crazy exam finding or ...

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Just after I started at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, I wrote an article on why I’m doing an MD/MBA. I argued that business school can help clinicians develop a new perspective, acquire important skills and build bridges between doctors, policymakers, and administrators. I heard from dozens of students, faculty, and physicians who supported the idea of an MD/MBA. However, a question repeatedly came up about as to ...

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As a medical student, I had nightmares about my first day in the OR: scrubbing incorrectly, contaminating a sterile field, forgetting the anatomy I had so carefully studied the night before. It seemed like the only thing I could do in that artificially lit room was mess up. After a few cases I came to love the routine and ceremony of each surgery: the timeout; the rhythmic pattern of suture, ...

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On Saint Patrick’s Day, my classmates and I will file into a room. Each of us will pick up a small white envelope, and we’ll open them together. Inside those envelopes will be the answer to a question we have wondered for months: Where did I match? Where will I begin my career as an MD, and what kind of doctor will I be? After years of endless studying, hundreds ...

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Recently, the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) made the reckless decision to increase work hours to 28-hour shifts for new doctors. Here are the catastrophic consequences of their decision. Here are actual quotes from physicians (de-identified with some patient details changed to protect confidentiality): “I did my internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology before laws existed to regulate resident ...

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If you were to sit in on any routine doctors visit, you are bound to hear a few things repeatedly. “Do you smoke? How much alcohol do you drink, if any? What is your diet like? How much exercise do you get weekly?” These are questions we are trained to ask as early as the first week of medical school. We are taught to treat not just the conditions a patient presents ...

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I stared at the ceiling, my hands twisting the drawstring of my scrubs. It was midnight, and I was occupying one of the on-call rooms of the delivery ward. I was going to be observing my first infant delivery, a milestone in my education that had terrified me since beginning medical school. I had been advised to get some sleep, but I was too anxious. I closed my eyes reviewing ...

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STAT_LogoOn March 17 at noon, about 18,000 medical students will open envelopes telling them where they will spend the next several years of their lives. It’s residency Match Day, and for many, that letter is one of the most important they will ever receive. The process is supposed to be straightforward. Medical students, like me, submit applications to hospitals and health systems ...

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Debt is destroying the lives of doctors everywhere. The cost of getting an education has moved into the ridiculous range. Many doctors are now starting their practice so far in the hole, that they do not see the way out. I would not have been able to start on my debt-free journey (I peaked at more than $600,000) if I had not developed a new attitude toward debt. Putting debt into ...

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The year was 1976. I was graduating from a small branch of my state university with a bachelor's in chemistry when I first applied to medical school. I was living at home and paying my own tuition. There were no physicians in my family, but I became interested in medicine after I was impressed with a surgeon who had operated on my shoulder. I had a better-than-the-medical-school-acceptance-rate average on my ...

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