I didn't match dermatology the first time. It was a harrowing experience, and I had a chip on my shoulder until the day I opened my match envelope. The reality is that in the last ten years, dermatology has become the most competitive specialty in medicine. Hundreds of extremely qualified applicants are disappointed each year. Therefore, not matching is not a reflection of one's qualifications as a future ...

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Three years ago I left my medical school interviews thinking I was not going to be accepted. “You seem like a businesswoman. Why do you want to be a doctor?” I was asked. I had spent my undergraduate years devoted to building an online food blog with over 200,000 views a month and created a company of organic, local concession food for the largest football stadium in the South. I had ...

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Back when I was a third-year medical student, I would sometimes bike to the hospital campus early enough to catch the groundskeepers cleaning the promenade in front of the medical school before the foot traffic arrived. Discovery Walk, as it’s called, is a beautiful promenade with stone murals commemorating the significant discoveries made at Stanford. It’s a beautiful scene, especially during sunrise or sunset, which many of my classmates have ...

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A excerpt from From Reading to Healing: Teaching Medical Professionalism through Literature (Literature and Medicine). There are several traditional ways to teach about professionalism. Some training programs have didactic lectures on this issue. These typically focus on principle-based ethics and “rules” about professionalism. “Do this. Don’t do that.” Most educators ...

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"Hey, you're a med student. Right?" "Yes, I am. Do you need me to scrub in?" "That would be wonderful, yes! Everyone is either out on vacation or is sick. It's just me and the resident." "OK, I'll be back in a few minutes." I was on my OB/GYN rotation, and once a week I follow one of the surgeons. It was 7:20 a.m., and a patient was coming in for an unplanned, stat ...

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As our society’s awareness of mental-health issues increases, the idea of balancing personal and professional life has become a central topic of conversation. It cannot be disputed that finding a healthy equilibrium is especially important for mothers who enter the professional world, medical or otherwise. As a student in an accelerated post-baccalaureate pre-health program and a mother of a 3-year-old girl and a 10-month-old boy, I have made many strides ...

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If you’re in the emergency department, it’s probably the worst day of your life. You’re scared, confused, anxious, sad, maybe emotionally numb. You were at home with your husband and witnessed him have a cardiac arrest. He was unresponsive, and he wasn’t breathing. You felt hopeless because you didn’t know how to help him, but you called 911. They rushed him to the hospital, and you followed the ambulance. By the ...

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I met Mr. B during my week on the endocrine service of my internal medicine rotation. My attending told me we were being consulted for this patient’s high sugars and a foot ulcer, and asked me to take the history. I walked into Mr. B’s room and was immediately struck by its stench. Mr. B had undergone a resection of his bladder tumor the day before and as a result was ...

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Well, today it happened. I participated in my first code. We were in the telemetry unit (the room where they monitor all the patients who have EKG strips) to ask about a different patient of mine only to find that a patient was coding (lost a life-sustaining heartbeat). With some coaxing from my attending, the other student and I wound our way through the around-20 people standing outside and inside of ...

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“We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded … Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.” – Milan Kundera Two days ago, during a clinical skills session on lymph node examination, my classmates insisted that I get what appeared to be an enlarged lymph node in my neck checked by the physician ...

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