I was recently part of a panel aimed at helping physician trainees make the transition to becoming full-fledged independent practitioners, and a member of the panel said something that struck an important chord with the audience when he mentioned that new doctors are probably the most developmentally delayed professionals in society. When you think about the fact that for some of us, the first “real” job we have starts as ...

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Three men walk into a deli for lunch, take a number, and sit quietly until called. There are no prices on display, nor is the food visible. The first man, Ron, is called to the counter and states that he is hungry when asked what brings him in. He presents his food insurance credentials, and five minutes later, he walks out the door with a 12-inch gourmet sandwich, a side ...

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It was 1989. While alternating between NCAA basketball tournament games on broadcast television, reruns of an older version of the game show Wipeout on cable, and the 8-bit Nintendo game Top Gun, a child sat in a hospital bed in the middle of rural America wondering why he was there. All he knew was that he had a sharp pain in the left side of his chest and that couldn't ...

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I thought long and hard about the financial ramifications of medical school before I started. I already had a job in the medical field that I enjoyed, and I was happy with my level of compensation at the time. After running the numbers, I knew that the choice to pursue medicine would result in a delayed economic benefit that would take at least 15 years to recover, and only through ...

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I was working at the free clinic late in the first semester of my third year of medical school when I met a patient I will call Mary, the last patient to be seen for the evening. Mary had a fairly typical story among uninsured individuals. She was 26 years old and worked three jobs near minimum wage to make ends meet, none of which offered cost-sharing for health insurance. ...

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I was spending time with friends and family over the holiday when I started to experience various vague symptoms without an obvious etiology. Having been treated for high blood pressure about ten years prior before successfully overcoming the issue with exercise, I immediately recognized the return of the condition. (As an aside, it should be stated that elevated blood pressure typically produces no symptoms at all.) Stopping by my local pharmacy, ...

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Perhaps the greatest flaw in medical training is our blatant avoidance of any education related to the business of medicine. Primarily focused on treating illness, trainees often don't want to hear about how they are going to be compensated in the future, and medical school administrators fear that such training would further decrease interest in specialties that reimburse at a lower rate per unit time. Some doctors get 10s and ...

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"How much experience do you have with human suffering?" It was a question asked of me at my first medical school admission interview, and it took me by surprise. I was expecting to be asked about my volunteer experience, my research, or my desire to become a physician. The simple truth is that most of us really don't have that much experience with human suffering when we're in our 20s. The ...

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shutterstock_256008637 I had spent medical school and the better part of my adult life in another state by the time I matched into a medical internship back home. Such an opportunity allowed me the opportunity to enjoy a more familiar setting complete with the more bucolic and relaxing lifestyle I had missed for so long. Though not quite in my rural hometown, ...

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shutterstock_161671763 I was at an orientation luncheon prior to my first week of medical school when my new classmate turned to me and asked, "So why did you decide to go back to school?" "Back" to school? In the eyes of this then-23-year-old future doctor, I must have appeared older than I was supposed to be. She was right. I was a little ...

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