Last August I sat surrounded by 163 other ambitious, new medical students on our “introduction to the profession” week. Anxiety was high with undertones of self-doubt mixed with lofty goals. Another distinguished figure had taken the floor to introduce us to the concept of medical professionalism: commitments to patient-centered care, intellectual honesty, social responsibility and advocacy. The long list of medical virtues we were to develop, cherish, and exemplify in ...

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“You will have 15 minutes to take a full medical history,” the moderator says in a plain, mechanical voice. We stand at our assigned exam room doors ready to embark on a mission that will be recorded, reviewed, and graded as part of an OSCE (objective structured clinical examination). “You may begin!” I knock, enter, and make a b-line to the soap dispenser -- check. I take the history in record time ...

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Over the last couple months, I have often been asked what I plan to do as a recent college graduate. My response has been that I will be attending medical school in Chicago. “Oh! Medical school!” many exclaim as their eyes light up, “So you’re going to be a rich doctor.” This response as well as most others I have received seemed to imply that medicine is an ideal profession if one ...

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