The July Effect is a relatively well-known reference to the influx of new trainees entering hospital systems annually on the first of the month. Researchers have attempted to investigate the impact of the new trainees on patient outcomes with divergent conclusions. Despite the ongoing debate, educators in medicine recognized the need to prepare medical students for day 1 of residency training, by establishing core competencies to evaluate the preparedness of students. One such example ...

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Does the profession of medicine favor certain personality types over others? When I was younger, it seemed like all of my doctors were gregarious, self-confident, and humorous, leaving me to wonder if one can “make it” in medicine without being outgoing. This seemed a natural consequence of the fact that so much of medicine is team-based and demands constant interpersonal interaction with colleagues and patients. For many introverts, a career in ...

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I am wearing my favorite scrubs, the teal ones a friend gave to me while I was volunteering in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. My first-year classmates and I are in front of the anatomy lab, waiting to see our cadaver for the first time. Our group enters, and we stand around the blue-plastic-cloaked body for a few minutes, preparing ourselves and discussing the task at hand. My anatomy ...

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In news to absolutely no one with an iota of common sense, the purported physician shortage isn’t actually one of numbers, but rather a problem of distribution. Per this article by in the Washington Post:

Critics of doctor shortage projections have argued for years that the problem is actually poor distribution of physicians, with too many clustered in urban and affluent areas and too few in poor and rural areas.
Doctors prefer to ...

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He is that new patient to the clinic. You know the one. He is the "multiple chronic conditions" patient.  Diabetes, hypertension, COPD, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, arthritis -- it would probably be quicker to name the conditions he doesn’t have. You let out a deep sigh before entering the room. You know the one. He is the "non-native English speaker." English isn’t his first language, perhaps not even his second. You try ...

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At the end of one of my earlier rotations where I first worked with a team consisting of residents and an attending physician, I sat down with the senior resident for feedback. Much of our final grade for each rotation in medical school comes from a subjective assessment of our abilities, ranging from clinical competence to professionalism. She told me I had done a good job with taking ownership of my ...

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In a recent grand rounds on the future of medicine, the buzzwords were “collaboration” and “managing of the health of populations.” The same day, a group of ten residents were presented with their patient data about cancer screening rates. In both venues, the call to “population health” elicited sighs of exasperation. It’s just another checkbox we are being asked to click off. How can we be assessed on that as ...

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Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. This is one of the main tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous, and it serves to encourage its members to commit to absolute abstinence. It is also a belief, I have come to realize, held by the many medical residents I have encountered. When an alcoholic patient is admitted to the hospital, it is no secret that he (or she) is an alcoholic. This is because it feels ...

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shutterstock_230620183 Every year 300 to 400 physicians commit suicide. More than 10 percent of doctors are thought to have depression, a frequent precursor to suicide. Rates of depression and suicide among physicians are higher than in the general population. Many reasons including stress, heavy workload, sleep deprivation, lack of autonomy, and lack of outlets for personal care may contribute to higher vulnerability in doctors. ...

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To most physicians my illness is a routine incident in their rounds, while for me it's the crisis of my life.  I would feel better if I had a doctor who at least perceived this incongruity.  - Anatole Broyard For medical students to treat illnesses of all kinds, we must first fill our brains with thousands of facts, everything from anatomy, to physiology, to microbiology, and biochemistry. We essentially become robots, pounding ...

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