Premedical education has become disconnected from medicine. Rather than helping students evaluate whether medicine is right for them or preparing students to enter the discipline, the premedical gauntlet encourages students to blindly discipline themselves according to rigid criteria. For example, during a recent trip to the pre-health advising office at my university, my advisors presented me with the “A.C.E. checklist.” It includes the three accomplishments every candidate should have before applying ...

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Dear third-year medical student: It’s hard to believe as I am writing this, that I am in my last rotation of third year. This year has been amazing and has gone by so quickly. There is no way to predict or to prepare for what your third year will have in store, but if it is anything like mine, it will be full of ups and downs. Moments that you will ...

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In 1978, my mother interviewed for dental school. On her post-interview tour of the school, her male tour guide assumed she was applying for dental hygiene school and showed her only those areas of the school. Upon my mother informing him that she was applying for dental school, he smirked and said, “Good luck getting in, you’re a woman,” and walked away laughing. Of course in 1978, overt sexism was neither ...

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I watch as my almost-2-year-old daughter awkwardly climbs the stairs. I do not hold her hand, but I do not turn my back on her either. She is still clumsy, and her little-bowed legs often miss their targeted landing spots. She holds on to the rail with a vice grip that steadies each monumental step forward and upward. Every so often she wobbles as she miscalculates the distances and her toes ...

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As a third year medical student, I am as green as they come. As much as I feign familiarity in the hospitals, each day of every rotation brings a host of firsts: first time suturing, first natural delivery, first terminal patient, first 24-hour shift, first code blue. The novelty of these experiences is equal parts exhilarating and overwhelming. As future physicians, we have invested the better parts of our time, ...

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I remember attending an eight-hour seminar on my job, where experts educated new nurses about the transition we would experience in our profession. We learned about the change theory and the different levels of transition, from novice to expert. I remember not taking the two-day session very seriously, thinking that my accelerated three-year nursing degree had prepared me well for the workplace. Now that my one year of practicing as ...

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Studies have varied in their estimates of depression in medical school students, but they all show a similarly startling trend. Medical students have a higher depression rate than their non-medical counterparts. This culminates later in life with physicians with higher than average alcohol abuse problems and higher than average suicide rates, with male MDs 1.5 times as likely, and female MDs twice as likely to commit suicide than their
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shutterstock_48780514 I knew that friendly Mr. S on our hospice unit had been a decorated World War II hero, having fought for the United States on the Italian front lines in 1944. I knew that a grenade had exploded right next to him four weeks into combat, sending him to the hospital for months with terrible shrapnel injuries. I also knew that he wished ...

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The holy grail of clinical reasoning is, in a word, assessment. Ought we to measure clinical reasoning as a function of experience, knowledge base, or as a process measure? In medical parlance, there is no “gold standard.” In 2015, to tell whether your doctor is a great diagnostician is based more on reputation than hard evidence. This gap in evidence is all the more interesting given recent press about the inattention ...

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Receiving medical school interview offers simultaneously provides relief, justifies the incredibly hard work you’ve put into your primary and secondary applications, and confirms that you are indeed cut out for medicine. In other words, you’ve convinced them -- at least on paper -- that you will succeed in their program and make an excellent doctor. So why do they even want to interview you? Consider what schools can only learn about you in ...

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