When is the right time to have a baby? This question plagues professional women across industries. It takes on more significant importance for women training as physicians. Medical training is long and coincides with a woman's late 20s, often stretching into her 30s. Waiting to have children until completing training is not always biologically feasible. Medical schools and residency training programs still lag behind in developing formal parental leave policies. Outside ...

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“Breathe in slowly, deeply, giving fresh energy to your body. Breathe out, releasing any tension from your day. In … 1 … 2 … 3 … 4 … Out … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 …” I try to follow the yoga instructor, but in my post-call fog, I struggle to let go of the last 24 hours. We begin by sitting poses to stretch our necks. But my neck is so ...

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Mine was an unusually long hiatus from residency for research training. And in the rough readjustment to clinical environments and work processes, one forgotten element seemed glaringly problematic: “Have a plan,” said one attending, “If you don’t know, just guess.” And another, in a teaching session, “Just guess, even if you’re wrong.” From a chief resident during an awkward pause when a junior was put on the spot: “Just guess; it’s OK.” When ...

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Back in the grueling training days of my residency, I was the first-hand victim of theft. Not the kind you see on the big screen, where you're held up at gunpoint, or the kind where your belongings get ransacked. It was worse, at least in the way that it made me feel. I had my handbag stolen from me, right from its usual resting place on the shelf near my ...

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As a surgical resident nearing my final year of training, I loved to operate. Whenever I was on call in the trauma unit at our large urban teaching hospital in Washington, DC, I'd yearn for my pager to go off. I was always tired, too — but for a surgical resident, fatigue is a given. Sleep and eat when you can, get your work done and operate like a madwoman: That ...

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From the earliest days on the clinical wards, everyone probably worked with a senior physician who knew how to game the system. It might be doing a rigid sigmoidoscopy on admission for every patient who had a rectum — something not the standard of care forty years ago. Or maybe it was accepting a pharmaceutical company subsidized tax-deductible junket under the guise of CME at a place with sparkling white ...

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So you made a mistake. I know you’re busy beating yourself up about it. I know that after years and years of training in life-saving medicine you’ve also trained yourself to accept the blame for all sorts of things beyond your control. You’re asking, "How could I have missed that," or "Why didn’t I think about that?" You’re wondering why you didn’t give a different drug, order another test or do ...

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Multiple state leaders, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, and even President Trump have declared states of emergency in response to the opioid epidemic. Policymakers claim to be battling this public health crisis on all fronts, but one arena continues to be conspicuously ignored: our prisons and jails. Roughly half of all incarcerated individuals suffer from addiction. And in the two weeks following their release, former prisoners are 129 times more likely ...

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Anyone with even the slightest passing interest in health care, has heard the mind-blowing statistics. As a nation, we spend almost 3.5 trillion dollars on health care. To put that into perspective, that is more than the total GDP of every country in the world apart from China and Japan! Germany, next on the list, has an entire GDP of 3.4 trillion dollars. At 18 percent of the economy, we ...

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“In Puerto Rico, we call those plants morir vivir,” said a patient who sat by the side of the road while we checked her blood sugar. When I reached to touch the small fern, it swiftly closed its leaves shut, and then after a few minutes cautiously reopened. As a young doctor I was fascinated with the poetry of the name. “It’s just like us Puerto Ricans,” she smiled. For two ...

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