I would like to offer some words of encouragement to what many call the “non-traditional” students pursuing medicine. The term encompasses people in different aspects in their lives. It may be someone in a different line of work looking at medicine as a second career or another just getting started that didn’t take the traditional path in undergrad. My own journey I started medical school at 28 after spending six years as a ...

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It’s no secret that physician job dissatisfaction is soaring to unprecedented levels, with over 50 percent of practicing physicians reporting burnout. While many factors have contributed to this epidemic in America over the last 20 years -- not least of all electronic medical records that are taking a heavy (and unacceptable) toll on physicians’ time -- this is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. I went to ...

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Exhausted. Aching. Hungry. Slightly delirious. Mile twenty-four of a marathon? Or hour twenty-four of a twenty-eight-hour shift? I am a resident. I am a runner. I am also a rather tired human since, as I type these words, I'm both post-call and post-run. However, this post-call/run state of body and mind is one I have learned to love and embrace during this residency whirlwind. I'm not myself unless I'm wearing scrubs or running clothes. ...

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Dear Mom and Dad, I love you, and thank you. The rest of this letter is an attempt to write something more eloquent and thoughtful, but those are the best and truest words I can ever speak to you. I made the decision to enter the medical field when the rest of our family is from a business and finance background. Despite being unfamiliar with the different hurdles of application cycles, ...

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There has been a profound deterioration in the education of our medical students. I only make this contention after having taught over a hundred medical students across five continents, often one-on-one and for extended periods. Although the majority of those I’ve taught have been students educated at international medical institutions, a substantial number have been those from U.S. medical schools. While I do recognize that those that find their way ...

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Late one evening, I received a text from my oldest daughter. “What in medicine, that we do now, will we think is barbaric in 50 years?” Wow. They play more provocative bar games now than they played when I was in my 20s. I promptly texted back my knee-jerk response: “chemotherapy.” As we are on the brink of precision medicine, what will the next generation think of our “slash, burn and poison” paradigm ...

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For some reason, social media does a good job with sculpting our lives into perfectly organized displays that are available to look at during every breathing second of our lives thanks to the revolutionary invention called the smartphone. I look at pictures of people studying with beautifully organized desks, smiles, intricately designed planners and captions about how wonderful their day at home was with those planners. And I completely understand and ...

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I’ve been mean to my body lately. And since I know better, I talk negatively to myself about why I continue to be mean to my body. Lately, I’ve been considering why I do this -- why we do this -- and how to think about ourselves differently. Several months ago I had immobilizing low back pain. I broke my low back in high school, and this pain was similar. After ...

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I recently attended a small dinner hosting Robert Lefkowitz, MD, the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery for G-protein coupled receptors. Throughout the night, the conversation traversed a diverse range of topics — from his adventures in Stockholm, Sweden to his work-life balance — but his remarks on one particular subject stuck with me. It turns out that Dr. Lefkowitz, when interviewing candidates to work in ...

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"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." - Diane Ackerman Nathan picks up a pen from the tray next to the dry erase boards. “OK,” he says. “Here’s what he showed us.” The rest of our small group watches. Nathan is one of the more intense medical students I ...

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