In the 70s when I trained, we had no add-on curricula; we had no milestones; we had little interference from governing bodies.  What we did have were role models. In the current century, when I talk with students and residents (and I do that very often) they talk about what they see or do not see from their attending physicians and fellow residents.  The carefully constructed curricula result from excellent intentions, ...

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Empathy is a cryptic term. Those in the health care profession can certainly spout off a variety of phrases and metaphors that are typically used to describe the concept of empathy in the educational setting. Throughout my medical education thus far it has been described as “putting yourself in another’s shoes” or “sharing in another’s emotion.” We are also taught early on what empathy is not. Empathy is not feeling sorry ...

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For patients who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, a medical visit can be unexpectedly stressful. LGBTQIA+ people have to keep track of who they're out to and how out they are, especially if they fit more than one letter of the acronym; some people might know they're gay, fewer people might know they're transgender, while some people probably don't know anything about their private life at all. Why does this ...

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The emergency department is a place of unpredictability. Some days are a whirlwind, others drag, but both can be interesting. On a calmer day, I found myself, a fourth-year medical student, working with a physician I will call Dr. Smith. We discovered that we shared a common love for music, and between patients, we discussed everything from opera, to banjo, to Indian music. I am a composer and amateur classical ...

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Dear medical student, I’m sorry. You had just finished two years of didactic learning and couldn’t wait to feel like a “real” doctor. You finally were starting your clerkships, that is, ultimately working with patients and getting deep in the trenches. You were bright-eyed as you pulled on your pristine short white coat. You got to the hospital at 5:15 a.m., 15-minutes early for the first day of your very first third-year ...

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Congratulations! At this point, you are almost halfway done with your first year of medical school. Either you have finally figured out what's going on, or if you're like me, you are still trying to figure it out. Relax, take a few deep breaths. Medical school is unlike anything you have ever done. The volume of information, constant testing, and overwhelming need to keep up with your peers is an ...

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“I lift things up and put them down.” This quote is from a commercial for Planet Fitness I have seen in the past. It portrays a bulky body builder on a tour of the gym premises. There is no real communication with the tour guide since he keeps saying that he lifts things up and puts them down, irrespective of what the tour ...

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When asked to describe my career, I consider myself primarily a clinician educator.  Recently I have reflected on the influences that allowed me to have a successful career doing what I love.  This post is not meant to mention all those influencers, but just some that I recall often.  As I have thought about this post, I quickly realized that all the “heroes” that I recall focused on clinical education. ...

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College → medical school → residency → fellowship. The journey to becoming a doctor sometimes feels like climbing a never-ending ladder. The process started for me as an undergraduate when I was seventeen years old and will go on well into my thirties. I am still climbing. Each level of ascension is drastically different in both your skill set and responsibilities to your patients. The variation from one stage to ...

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Our powerful subconscious minds are processing information that we don’t even realize we are taking in, so to achieve gender equity we must actively uncover things that are unintentionally promoting stereotypes. For example, we know that if we want to promote a gender equitable environment that putting portraits of men on the walls of the classrooms would not be ideal. Even if there were one or two women in the mix, ...

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