Since the beginning of a new academic year is fast approaching, here’s some heartfelt advice. You might need it, I hope you read it and heed it. If you’re just beginning your medical school journey, the first line is written specifically for you, but the rest of the piece is pertinent for any doctor, at any age and any stage of their careers. If this is your first day of med ...

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I woke up to the sound of a faint “ding” from my bedside table. It was 5:24 a.m. Shaking off my lethargy, I scrambled over to my phone because the ding meant one thing: my first residency interview invitation. Looking back on that moment, as I responded in the dim light of the morning, I realize that I knew very little about what was to come over the next few months. ...

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Since the beginning of the fourth year of medical school, I have lived in six different cities and have been fortunate to call a Michigan apple orchard, an island on the Mississippi River, and a little apartment in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood of Boston home. I come to you as an emergency medicine intern fully immersed in the second month of residency excited about what the future holds as a ...

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I’m not really sure who is at fault, but somewhere along the way, our educational system decided that teaching personal finance is unnecessary. We learn calculus, the rules of dodgeball and even sewing, but financial management is taboo. Then, all of a sudden, we head to undergrad and medical school, and before we know it, we’re in our late 20s or early 30s financially illiterate. The consequence of this was shown ...

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What makes a good doctor or, for that matter, a great one? Most patients want physicians who are excellent clinicians and diagnosticians. But we also want doctors who are caring, empathetic and maybe even telepathic — doctors who seem to know intuitively what we need without any awkward discussion of sensitive issues. After all, patients may not want or know how to talk about substance abuse, domestic violence, sexually transmitted disease ...

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With the transition to residency, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about next steps in my career. I even did a self-reflection exercise for a class in which I listed out professional decisions that will come up in the next few years (including choices like fellowship selection, type of practice setting, whether to pursue management roles, and more). I then rated the different options on a set of six ...

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If someone asked you on day one of medical school, as a fresh-faced first year, to name the essential components of a successful career, what would you have answered? A solid education? Good test scores? Publications? An $800 otoscope? Some are more obvious than others. Who of the enlightened among us would have mentioned a proper work-life balance? How about a strong support system — or the right mentor? Navigating the ...

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When we studied ward attending rounds, the thought process represented the top attribute that learners valued.  Learners can learn facts from textbooks, but using those facts requires experience and role modeling. I have given many lectures on clinical reasoning, and I have attended many lectures on clinical reasoning.  These lectures can entertain, but one lecture does little to help our colleagues and our learners. We must structure case conferences as a primary ...

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It's that time of year again. The start of a new academic year, marked by the arrival of a brand-new class of interns starting out in their training. Clutching their freshly-minted medical degrees, they appear so ready, so anxious, so excited, so eager to learn. Now it's our job to make sure they stay this way. (Have I written this column before? Every year ...) We need to make sure we have a world where ...

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This one’s for the new interns. You’re excited, you’re about to start residency. You’re a doctor. No more short white coat. You’ve got the long white coat that you’ve been waiting for. You’ve arrived. But actually, there’s one more thing you need before you really feel like you look like a doctor. It might be a few months. There’s going to be a long process. Someone in your program, maybe the chief ...

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