When I first seriously began discussing the possibility of applying to medical school with my family and close friends, I received mixed reactions. Although medicine seemed like a great fit for me in many ways, I also heard sad stories about relationships and even entire families that had struggled to survive the strenuous period of medical training (particularly residency). As somebody who values family and close relationships highly, I was ...

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My "aha" moment wouldn't come at the signing of my leave of absence contract. Nor would it awaken me at night with the chair-gripping dizziness I had come to expect. When the vertigo started in early December during my third block of clerkship, I chalked the symptoms up to stress. Over the December break, I met with my family doctor and casually recounted my symptoms. The vertigo had worsened, and seemed questionably ...

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As health care settings become more focused on patient experience and care for the whole person, issues of culture, diversity, personal beliefs, and values have come to the forefront. Staff are expected to deliver not only high-quality clinical care but to do so with compassion and care. Neither of these elements are new, but they are gaining attention as health care is increasingly measured on a number of quality indicators, ...

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DearPamela-900x607 Hi Pamela, I’m a medical student in the UK. Though I’ve only been in med school since September, it has already taken its toll on me. Before I started, I was so in touch with my emotions, spirituality, and nature. Now I feel so empty and desensitized. I hate that when faced with the horrible circumstances of another person, I just don’t feel ...

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A surgical resident writes:

I’m sure you have read several recent studies suggesting that current general surgery residents are poorly trained and unprepared for independent practice at the completion of residency. My questions for you: 1. In general, do you agree that current general surgery residents are poorly trained and unable to operate independently at the completion of residency? 2. What should we do differently? I personally don’t feel that “more simulation activities,” which ...

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Even as a child, I noticed that many people, especially my Depression-era grandmother, feared aging and the imminence of death. Death was no stranger to me growing up; I lost my then best friend, my Nano, and my uncle as a child, both traumatically. Yet, death was sad, but natural. Because of this, I never understood our society’s stigma against dying, something that I've struggled with even in medical school. In ...

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This question has been circulating in the academic medical world for years. As an intern and resident, I would hear complaints about how "unready" they seemed. The grievances often include adjectives like ill-prepared, lazy,  or uninterested.  The complaints have burgeoned over time, and the examples are numerous in my institution: Students show up late to rounds with coffee in their hands; one med student had the gall to go directly to the attending and ...

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Sometimes, it’s difficult to recall that single defining moment or person that sends you on the path you’re meant to take in life. I was fortunate in that I found that experience halfway through my undergraduate career at the University of California, Davis. I had recently lost my grandmother; although I’d wanted to help, all I’d been able to do at the hospital was translate for her. That overwhelming sense ...

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An anonymous medical student has this post on KevinMD -- A star medical student feels like he made a terrible decision:

And so, medical students learn quickly how to play this game. We enter noble. We leave jaded. We leave seeing that the smart move is to get out of it. And so the smartest of the smartest, the ones lucky enough to have a choice, go into fields where ...

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During my first year of medical school, I attended a “speed dating” event, where medical students met attendings from various specialties to get a better sense of what we could do with our lives once we graduated. Older physicians consistently remarked that they decided their future during their intern year. One even said that he waited until the end of his internship to decide on otolaryngology. I, along with my fellow ...

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