I’ve had lots of practice comforting people. I’ve had to tell patients that their cancer is back in a busy emergency department. I’ve updated family members of patients who are being kept alive by machines in the intensive care unit. I’ve walked alongside patients as they get rolled into an operating room, and crouched down by a patient’s bed as they writhe in pain. There have been moments of fear, ...

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I recently collected anecdotes from women in medicine who have noticed the same thing I’ve noticed: We’re not as comfortable here as our male counterparts. Despite progress, medicine remains a patriarchy -- an “old boy’s club” -- and the women in this world are frequently reminded of this status quo. In collecting these anecdotes, I’ve noticed two main themes for the type of advice and comments women receive. The first one speaks ...

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“What’s a DO?” is something virtually every osteopathic medical student and physician have been asked at some point in their training. There is this public misconception that professionals who carry MD after their names are the only qualified people to medically treat their ailments. Any other degree is categorized as "alternative medicine" in their mental schema. Truth be told, DOs, or doctors of osteopathic medicine are just as qualified as ...

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It is December 2017. I have been on the road for the last five months, completing my five months of elective rotations. I am a fourth-year medical student aspiring to specialize in family medicine. I also want to learn procedures, so I did two months of surgery, three months of family practice electives. At the beginning of this process, I had wanted to be a general surgeon, but I ended ...

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I asked a colleague at a recent dinner meeting about his children. They’re all grown, he said, one is actually a doctor. But, he added quickly, “I had nothing to do with it.” His son had chosen his father’s field of radiology, though my colleague similarly disavowed any influence. He did mention, with some relief, that his son was happy with his choice. About a year earlier, I was catching up ...

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I pulled into my driveway at 1 in the morning after spending eight consecutive hours in the library. I shut the engine off and allowed the music to continue. And I didn’t move. And then I started to cry. Initially, I resisted the tears, then conceded to the overpowering emotions so desperate to escape. And for ten minutes, I sat in my dark car in the cold at 1 in the morning ...

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The specter of the psych ward looms large in popular culture: video games, horror movies, novels — the concept of a locked inpatient psychiatric ward is shorthand for a variety of terrors. This perception is driven by a complex cocktail of factors. Psych ward patients have struggled with historical and current abuses, which are compounded by misunderstanding and ignorance around mental illness. During third year, I spent a six-week rotation in ...

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I entered medical school with an intense desire to take care of others. A naturally — sometimes overbearingly — caring person with a penchant for science, becoming a physician was my dream since middle school. My naiveté was quickly slapped by reality when I realized people enter medicine for many other reasons: prestige, job stability, income or a genius fascination of science that sometimes overlooks the suffering human. This crushed my ...

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Doctors are all the same: A sea of uniform “white coats without a face” caring for “patients without a face.” They heal the sick. They save lives. And they drive their fancy sports cars to their expensive homes and cushy lives. Not. I am embarrassed to admit, as a pre-med/medical school hopeful, this was my perception of physicians and patient care before completing two summer internships at a doctor’s office. A problem that the majority ...

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“I don’t teach IMGs.” It was such a simple and concise statement. Four words. But it felt like a bullet that was heated in the depths of hell had pierced through my heart when I heard those words. My ears burned and I felt physically ill. I wondered to myself, “Am I really that bad at medicine? Am I even going to make it? Should I just quit?” I felt lesser ...

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