As a first-year medical student, I have the privilege of observing medical practice from two perspectives: as a patient and as a student learning how to think like a doctor. I interview patients with deliberation and overthink every part of the physical exam and every detail of the patient’s history. I attempt to convey the patient’s condition, feelings, and pain as I present to my attending. I also marvel at ...

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Greetings from the library. I’m writing to you through caffeine jitters, wrapped in a scarf that doubles as a blanket. I’ve marked my territory with my things: several Apple products, remnants of oatmeal in a mason jar, a sketchbook exhibiting my best attempt drawing the inside of a skull, and the most-essential item: my planner, detailing all the tasks I now avoid. I’m in the midst of my first round of ...

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More than 15 percent of last year’s new crop of first-year medical students completed a post-baccalaureate program. These programs exist in two flavors: one type helps students who want to improve their undergraduate academic record, and the other helps those who want to redirect their careers toward medicine, like me. Both are growing rapidly in number. With so many future doctors launching ...

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There's currently an image in heavy circulation making its way around the internet of a hospital patient's chest tattooed with the words "Do **not** resuscitate," accompanied by what is assumed to be the man's signature. This 70-year-old patient arrived at an emergency department unconscious with elevated blood alcohol levels. He did not have any form of identification on him, and his health care providers did not have an identifiable means ...

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I am an Olympian. I am a retired All-American student-athlete.  I am a resident.  I am burned out. Let me be clear: I love medicine and the opportunity to have privileged relationships with patients and their families.  I thrive on the fast-paced environment, growing to-do lists, and the chance to work in a field with endless learning.  I love working in team environments to provide optimal care for patients and their ...

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The familiarity that health care professionals develop with complex medical procedures and topics is the result of years upon years of hard work, and over time we become accustomed to the jargon. We use phrases like "lap chole" and "appy" without much thought when talking to each other and (if we have a momentary lapse) with patients. We take the fantastic array of medical specialties, procedures, and knowledge in our ...

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STAT_Logo'Tis the season. Thanksgiving? Sure. Christmas? That too. But for thousands of fourth-year medical students and foreign medical graduates all over the United States, fall through early winter is a time of job hunting — interviewing for residencies. This is a critical step in our training, where we specialize in the individual fields of medicine that will carry ...

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My alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. I lay in bed dreading the day ahead of me. By 4:50 a.m., I arrive at the nursing home where I was doing a geriatric rotation. A stack of charts and a patient complaint list was awaiting me. On the list were the usual suspects: a follow up for lab results, a fall, abdominal pain. And at the bottom was a note on ...

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For the month of September, I embarked on the experience of a lifetime, living and working on the largest Native American reservation in the United States. Sprawled across the four corners region of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, the Navajo Reservation in Chinle, Arizona, encompasses an area as large as the entire state of West Virginia. Its population, however, is only about 300,000, making it extremely rural. To leave ...

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Medical residents take on a variety of responsibilities. Some are clear, upfront, and obvious: the responsibilities they have been training for since entering medical school. Coming up with a treatment plan and carrying it out is first and foremost their raison d'etre, and they put an enormous amount of effort into it. However, they also acquire a host of other duties. They run interference for attendings. They coordinate with nursing. ...

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