Like most medical trainees my age, I step into the hospital with the entire knowledge base of the world in my pocket. I have apps on my phone to look up disease symptoms and diagnoses, reference drug doses and side effects, estimate the 10-year risk of having a heart attack, determine the correct timing and type of vaccine administration and screening tests, and even display the risks, benefits, and statistics ...

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Residency training is an opportunity to get a good feeling of the specialty that interested you when thinking about what to pursue in the future. You may think that after applying for premed college, medical school and residency, applying for fellowship would be a piece of cake for you. Let me tell you: applying for fellowship is probably the hardest one among all other applications you went through so far. ...

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The common critique of surgeons from their medical colleagues is the scant amount of time spent with their patients. As the argument goes, surgery is more impersonal than other specialties and those who practice it see their patients in one dimension. In some sense, they aren’t wrong. For those who wield the scalpel, speed and efficiency are a priority. It's a philosophy perfectly illustrated during morning rounds, the daily tour of patients ...

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Since graduations will soon be upon us, this is a graduation speech that I’d like to give one day: Hello everyone, and welcome. To the practicing doctors in the audience, I hope you can look back on your own graduations. To the med students, I hope you can look ahead. And, hopefully, everyone can look forward to what are some heartfelt insights. To the graduating class: As you’re sitting here ruminating about ...

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After a semester of studying and taking written exams, we had our first OSCE in medical school. An OSCE — or an objective structured clinical examination — is the real deal. Instead of filling out multiple choice boxes, we instead work with a real human being, which for me is a welcome change. The actor is given a script with their unique condition and story — it’s a simulation of what ...

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A 76-year-old gentleman with a history of kidney failure, myasthenia gravis and recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer presented for evaluation of melena and hypotension. The patient was my first admission to the medicine team as an intern, and he was as near to an ICU admission without actually being admitted to the ICU as one could come. After examining the patient, I briefly staffed with the busy attending physician, placed the ...

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One late evening on pediatrics call, a frantic young couple brought in their few weeks old baby. She had spiked a fever which refused to go down and was fussier than normal. The cause of her symptoms could have been anything -- at best, a mild respiratory infection, in which case we would simply watch her and manage her symptoms, but at worst, it could be meningitis, an infection attacking ...

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Learned helplessness. It’s a psychological concept marked by a perceived loss of power, and it’s prevalent in medicine. We are taught early on how little we are in this colossal world. We are told what to do, when to do it, and what we will get for it. Our objections go unheard or—worse—ignored. Let me quote a paragraph from The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz:

They were conducting a series of experiments on basic ...

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Working in a clinic as a medical student is the best of all worlds. We have the opportunity to expand our knowledge and skills by working with some incredible patients, all while knowing that we have the support and backup of our fully trained, expert attending physicians every step of the way. This apprenticeship type of system is absolutely essential to medical training, allowing us to get our feet underneath ...

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Her: “So what do you do?” Him: “Well, I’m applying to medical school. If I make it, I’ll spend the vast majority of my time studying for the next four years. You and I will be able to go on cheap dates occasionally, but even then I’ll feel guilty about not studying. I won’t have any money, so you’ll have to support me on your income. Otherwise, I’ll have to take ...

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