With the transition to residency, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about next steps in my career. I even did a self-reflection exercise for a class in which I listed out professional decisions that will come up in the next few years (including choices like fellowship selection, type of practice setting, whether to pursue management roles, and more). I then rated the different options on a set of six ...

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If someone asked you on day one of medical school, as a fresh-faced first year, to name the essential components of a successful career, what would you have answered? A solid education? Good test scores? Publications? An $800 otoscope? Some are more obvious than others. Who of the enlightened among us would have mentioned a proper work-life balance? How about a strong support system — or the right mentor? Navigating the ...

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When we studied ward attending rounds, the thought process represented the top attribute that learners valued.  Learners can learn facts from textbooks, but using those facts requires experience and role modeling. I have given many lectures on clinical reasoning, and I have attended many lectures on clinical reasoning.  These lectures can entertain, but one lecture does little to help our colleagues and our learners. We must structure case conferences as a primary ...

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It's that time of year again. The start of a new academic year, marked by the arrival of a brand-new class of interns starting out in their training. Clutching their freshly-minted medical degrees, they appear so ready, so anxious, so excited, so eager to learn. Now it's our job to make sure they stay this way. (Have I written this column before? Every year ...) We need to make sure we have a world where ...

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This one’s for the new interns. You’re excited, you’re about to start residency. You’re a doctor. No more short white coat. You’ve got the long white coat that you’ve been waiting for. You’ve arrived. But actually, there’s one more thing you need before you really feel like you look like a doctor. It might be a few months. There’s going to be a long process. Someone in your program, maybe the chief ...

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Now that you’ve turned in your AMCAS (phew!), you’re probably wondering how to tackle the monster of secondaries coming your way. One of the most common questions asked in one form or another is the diversity essay for medical school. Have you ever wondered why diversity is such an important component of the medical school admission process? I’ve heard a lot of pre-med students eager to write this off ...

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Just recently, New York and Virginia became the first two states to mandate that mental health become incorporated into school curriculums. New York passed a law for educators to teach material on mental health beginning from elementary school continuing on to high school. Virginia’s legislation intertwines mental health education with physical and health education for 9th and 10th graders. While these two states should certainly be ...

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On one of my first days of medical school, I shuffled into a lecture hall surrounded by professional looking individuals as we had done the days before. This similar routine persisted for a few days as we became oriented to our new school. Leadership had indoctrinated us with professionalism, administrative staff had terrified us to the point of avoiding any patient information for fear of being sent wherever they send ...

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We want competent physicians, but we also want compassionate ones. How do we get them? Is it nature or is it nurture? Is it more important to search out more compassionate students, or should we instill compassion somehow in the ones we start along the training pipeline? I think the answer lies in nurturing what nature has already put there. My background is in pediatric critical care, which I have practiced ...

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I left the library at 10 p.m. the night before the last exam of my first year of med school. As I hopped on my bike, I took comfort in my typical pre-test refrain: I’m done studying. I did everything I could. Of course, I’m not really done studying: I still have three years of school left packed with end-of-block finals, end-of-rotation exams, and the behemoths of the medical testing world, ...

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