As a college freshman in 2012, my life seemed perfect. I was attending Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, with the dream of becoming a pediatric oncologist. To that end, I was serving as a volunteer, researcher, and clinical intern at the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I was thriving in my classes and building incredible relationships with my peers and professors. I had never been happier. Everything changed when I ...

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It was the last week of my EMS elective. I was incredibly lucky to ride with one of the EMS captains who was eager to take me to any call that sounded interesting. We were called to a possible stroke. An 82-year-old woman with sudden-onset unilateral weakness and expressive aphasia. The paramedic and EMT on scene were two I had met before. We actually talked earlier that day about the ...

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In medical school, you’re not taught how to give stellar patient presentations. Yes, you’re shown the traditional order of things: “Give an effective one-liner first, then tell the HPI [history of present illness] but only give pertinent info, etc.” Just exactly how to deliver the punch that impresses your attending is an art. And it’s an art that takes some time to perfect. My very first time presenting a patient was ...

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For as long as I remember, studying medicine has always been the goal I focused on the most. For years, I thought that I knew the path I was taking, and that I calculated the benefits and drawbacks. However, with time, I learned that no matter how much one assesses his decisions, one cannot have a full grasp of it, until he/she “begins” to experience it. I wasn’t aware how much ...

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For a long time, I didn’t feel as if I were getting any older. Because I’ve been at my institution since 1975, I’ve always been surrounded by the people who educated me. Though my teachers and mentors have undoubtedly aged, to me, none of them seems much older than they were when I first met them. And since for most of those years our student-teacher relationship has remained unchanged, when ...

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I graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada and now work as an emergency medicine physician at a trauma center in Northern California. To some, that may seem like an extreme jump or a rare success story. The stigma of a Caribbean medical school education is built on rumors — and they’ve run their course. Let’s address some. 1. Students only go to Caribbean medical schools if they ...

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It was an ordinary afternoon in my outpatient internal medicine rotation. I prepared to enter a room for a congestive heart failure hospital follow-up patient. I mentally prepared myself. I was going to ask for his hospital records (particularly looking for the echocardiogram), make sure he was started on an ACE inhibitor and a beta-blocker, and ensure he had a follow up with a cardiologist in the coming weeks. “This ...

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When I told my colleagues that I was going to try to create the first psychiatry review course at the University of Toronto, I received the same two responses: "It's about time somebody did that!" and "What is wrong with you?" — sometimes from the same person! The first reaction taps into the excellence of our department. With approximately 1000 faculty with diverse expertise and the largest residency program in Canada, ...

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One big life event for me was having my son Matthew during medical school. It has been a fulfilling and interesting journey. I met my husband Andrew during college, and we were lucky to matriculate together at the University of Minnesota Medical School. I decided to do a dermatology research year between the third and fourth years of medical school, and Andrew did a neurology research year at the same time. ...

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Growing up, I was discouraged from becoming a doctor; I was too emotional. My mother, a geriatrician, worried about my attachment to patients and the volatility of inpatient medicine. To some degree, I understood her concerns; I’m tearful during goodbyes and inconsolable at funerals. Yet my interest in medicine persisted, and I began medical school. In my third-year, I experienced the innumerable emotions associated with witnessing patients’ deaths. I was ...

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