When I read The Broke Diaries, it was like reading my financial autobiography in medical school. I remember negotiating with the dry-cleaner to split my bill so that I could only pay for one dress and pick the rest up later.  Looking forward to making some furniture craft for my apartment on Spring break while the rest of my classmates were going to some exotic Island ...

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The emergency department is fast-paced. Full of chaos. Incredible suffering. Frustration. Disappointment. Screams, tears, smiles. Reassurance. Good news. Bad news. Diagnoses. Failure to find a diagnosis. Getting a last-minute cardiac arrest coming in at 650 a.m., ten minutes before the end of your 12-hour, overnight shift – you have the energy and wherewithal to do the task, but to process the life that was lost? To truly realize the dead ...

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“Julie” began the telehealth encounter in her car, greeting me with a cheerful smile. The sun glimmered through the driver-side window, illuminating the water spots to sparkle like diamonds. “How are you doing with your suboxone dose? Do you feel that you need to go up, or are you happy with your current dose?” I asked. “Everything is going great,” she said. “I feel no cravings – only some constipation. Otherwise, everything ...

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You might be next.   I began my career as a family physician in Buffalo, MN in 2002. I have been an extremely productive doctor for 20 years. For context, I can assure the reader that my ratings and reviews are excellent, and I  speak to the common primary care experience. I was a very green attending when I showed up in Buffalo for my first attending job. ...

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Years and years ago, everyone always walked up a mountain of snow and ice barefoot while dragging a carriage behind them to get to school, and their stethoscopes were made of bamboo. They were hard, hard times, and it was a time-honored tradition to hear the talk from our attendings about how hard training used to be and always elicited an internal groan. The follow up refrain frequently heard in ...

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Like many surgical specialties, the one I was aspiring to is a male-dominated field. As such, all my colleagues were male, and I often felt as though I was trying to be a part of a boy’s club. I shed my intrinsic femininity and instead equipped myself with diplomacy, banter, a light-hearted attitude, and contagious enthusiasm. I knew nothing about the footy, and I hated beer, but I was witty, I ...

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It was a cold winter morning in January 2021. Another day in the ICU, another day caring for critically ill patients with complex medical conditions, another day caring for patients on their death beds, another day interacting with patients’ families and their emotions, another day of putting on a strong face for my patients, their loved ones, my ICU family and my trainees, another day of giving bad news to ...

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I began pursuing a career in medicine with the fervent desire to become a neurosurgeon one day. When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered neurosurgeon without missing a beat. I chose neurosurgery in high school after falling in love with the nervous system and watching Gifted Hands. I wanted to be like Dr. Ben Carson before his political debut. At that point, ...

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As a young and optimistic business school graduate, I recall when the consulting firm I worked for was retained to evaluate “USA Hospital and Medical Clinics” (pseudonym). “USA” had grown quickly and was struggling to manage the recent expansion. We interviewed doctors, nurses, and medical assistants, and they told us about the problems they faced every day: They were pressured to get patients in and out quickly to keep average visit ...

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I go to medical school with a girl who is universally disliked, perhaps more than anyone I’ve met before. It began innocuously enough: She was too active in the group chat, too pushy about ordering class jackets, this and that. In lecture, she barked out obscure answers like “Saturday Night Palsy” with physical force; her petite body careening forward in her chair, her class-jacketed hand spearing into the sky. But did ...

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I’m of Irish heritage and we love to tell stories. This story feels like it needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I grew up in Texas, where football is king. Here’s my story so parents can make a more fully “informed consent” when deciding if their children should play football. My dad played offensive line in college. We were proud of our “gentle giant“ dad. The first and only college graduate in ...

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I was a fellow physician in neonatology, and my contract was recently not renewed for my three-year fellowship at the end of the first year. My experience highlights the examples that, at times, physicians are treated in a disposable manner. COVID-19 is certainly taking a toll on health care workers. So, too, are oppressive practices and unfair treatment of trainees. The reasons provided to me for why my contract was not ...

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To say that I grieved in the months following the unexpected death of my husband is an understatement. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Thirty pounds evaporated from my 5’ 4”, 130-pound frame. Incessant crying left me dehydrated with cracked, bloody lips. Too soon, financial and professional pressure forced a return to my anesthesia practice. To the outside observer, I appeared functional; I was, in reality, suicidal. Between cases, I’d cry in ...

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I am a nurse who has worked at a rural hospital. My husband is a board-certified family medicine doctor. In the fall of 2020, I was raped by my massage therapist. I know that everyone has an opinion of what they would do in that situation, and I was probably one of those people. However, to my complete shock (quite literally), I didn't behave in any manner that ...

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I saw a tweet recently from a medical resident training at another hospital that really hit home for me: “In response to a rumor that health care workers who treat COVID patients will be prioritized for vaccination in our health system, one of my co-residents asked unironically, ‘Does that include us?’” “Resident” is a word coined in the twentieth century when physicians in training often physically lived (“resided”) at the hospital. ...

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It was Black Friday, and as I held her hand, I knew that she would be dead within the hour. My breath was stale inside my N95.  The yellow isolation gown was moist and clingy, and the fogged-up goggles gave me that feeling that I was on an extended deep-sea expedition.  Mrs. Carson was still occupying her bed, but really she was already gone.  I had watched the respiratory rate creep ...

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I have worked part-time as an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist for the last few years. The job isn't complicated, and where I am, one doesn't need a specifically tailored education or license to practice under supervision. An ABA's clients are diagnosed with autism, and the therapist works to reduce the client's maladaptive behaviors and increase their comfort with everyday routines, social interactions, and independent living, all while taking data ...

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Though many say freedom of speech has never been more prevalent with the creation of social media, moral relativism and shaming have taken a toll. Evident today, cyberbullying in the name of justice polarizes attitudes while placing some opinions as martial law and others as bigotry. This polarization of America marginalizes majorities and attempts to silence them into submission. Concurrently, it diminishes the “moral” side’s own goal to gain support ...

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For a bunch of folks striving to stomp out malignant processes in our patients, we sure tolerate a fair amount of destructive behavior among training programs.

I’ll be the first to say I’m not the most delicate flower in the garden. Before pursuing medicine, I was a college athlete. I’m no stranger to long hours, harsh coaches, or repeated failures.

Medical students get their first bitter taste of malignant ...

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On October 12th, 2020, I underwent a LEEP procedure to remove the distal portion of my cervix. In the wake of COVID-19, with PPE and willing staff in short supply to complete Pap smears in clinic, a colleague and I were trialing self-swab HPV testing - a technique pioneered in countries like Australia that is likely to become the eventual standard of care for cervical cancer screening. Since my last ...

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