As a fourth-year medical student, I love introducing myself to patients as the "extra eyes and ears of the team, so feel free to tell me anything you forgot or would like to address, even if you think it's irrelevant or burdensome. I will be your advocate." As I establish rapport with them, the walls come down, and they often provide important information that helps my team provide the best care ...

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Aristotle said, “To avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” Sometimes I wish I was nothing; surely that would just be so much easier. I screw up all of the time. And I hate it. My latest gaffe was killing our simulated patient by causing him to aspirate. I’m sure no one else in my group is still perseverating on the events that unfolded during the sim. I also ...

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Svetlana Meet Dr. Svetlana Kleyman, a powerhouse chief surgery resident with a heart of gold, who works 16-hour days and runs marathons in her free time. Just 18 months before she was to graduate from SUNY Downstate, she developed a spinal infection that left her paralyzed from the waist down. After months of rehab, she was cleared by her doctors to resume work ...

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There’s a window in the driveway to the dental school that always catches my attention.  Usually, the old, horizontal blinds are hanging at a lopsided, half-open-half-closed stance.  Occasionally, though, they are open all the way, and you can see inside. For the first few months of my dental school education, I felt like that was my only window into dentistry: through the obstructed, double-paned division between me and the dental school ...

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Readers know that I believe that servant leadership should inform leadership and management decisions.  We who have the privilege of having leadership positions at medical schools, therefore, have as a primary responsibility to our students. Being a medical student, while a reward and a privilege, is nonetheless a stressful experience.  The first two years at most U.S. medical schools have the students grinding through the basic sciences related to medicine.  The volume ...

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Every year around Match Day, medical and pre-med students alike worry about a rumored “residency cliff.” The theory is that the number of new medical school graduates will soon outstrip the existing inventory of residency positions, and the overflow applicants will be left in professional limbo. While that picture seems scary, it’s time for some good news. I’ve believed for years that this concern is more phantom than real, but now ...

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I’ll just start this off by saying that I am not exactly sure where I stand on the white coat thing. One part of me loves the white coat as a symbol, a shield against disease, and a place with pockets to put my things; and then there are other days when I just want to throw that germ-ridden cotton barrier to the doctor-patient relationship in the trash, roll up my sleeves, ...

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Dear future self, Remember that day on surgery you stepped into the OR for the first time? How you had no idea you were supposed to pull your own gloves for the scrub nurse from the supplies cabinet, or that you needed to stand an arm’s length away from the equipment table to avoid breaking sterility? Remember how scared you felt? How clumsy you were when you scrubbed in, in a ...

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In a recent post, I wrote about the iCOMPARE research study that is comparing the effects of increasing medical residents’ consecutive duty hours with observing the currently prescribed limits on their shifts. According to the study protocol, the primary hypothesis of the research addresses the safety of patients: that mortality under ...

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I start this article with a disclaimer: I am not here to comment on the decreasing salaries of physicians or the knowledge that I will never get paid the way the prior generation of doctors got paid. It is hard for me (and the American public) to feel bad for anybody making more than $200,000 a year when the median household income is in the mid-$40,000 range. What this article is ...

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