I knew that residency would be indentured servitude for (in my case) three years. I knew it. I prepared for the fear, the shaming, and the isolation as best I could. And I have for the past 11 months done OK. I am not the smartest or fastest. But I am told that I am passionate about my patients and have an “adequate fund of knowledge.” Woohoo. Adequacy! I have had dark moments. And ...

Read more...

It’s Friday morning in any operating room, USA. Nurses and techs are scrambling to get everything in place before the surgeon arrives because if not, there will be hell to pay. The first patient arrives late, the second patient needs to use the bathroom, the third patient needs blankets before the IV is started … and here he comes … and we’re not ready. The fear is palpable. Down the street, ...

Read more...

He entered the hospital on Monday morning with a list of patients running through his mind. From the time he received a sign out of 22 patients from his colleague on Sunday evening, he was planning his workday. It was a ritual of his to pray and sleep early on Sunday night to prepare him for what lie ahead. What lied ahead was a busy week of inpatient medicine — ...

Read more...

My husband is a doctor. Similar to any other career, this is what he spends most of his time doing. It’s also our family’s livelihood — how we pay our mortgage, our bills and send our daughter to preschool. He went to through seven years of training after college, often working all night or even 24-plus hour calls. He’s had to miss family dinners, birthday parties, nights of putting our daughter ...

Read more...

I am nearing the end of my training at one of the top surgical fellowships in the country. I chose this fellowship not just for the name, but also because the surgeons all seemed like genuine and altruistically motivated individuals. It was two-thirds of the way through fellowship when I found myself in conversation with two male trainees. We were discussing the younger trainee and his girlfriend; he would be ...

Read more...

I have lived for some time with depression. Most of the time, it is nagging in the background, helped by exercise, family and friends. But a few times, despite my best efforts, it has gotten out of control. At the middle of my chief year in November, it came to a head. I was under tremendous pressure to apply for fellowship when I didn’t think it was what was best for ...

Read more...

Recently, a nurse at Children's Hospital Los Angeles noticed that comedian Jimmy Kimmel's newborn baby had a murmur and was cyanotic and brought it to the newborn intensive care unit for further evaluation. That triggered a rush of activity that led to a diagnosis of a congenital heart defect and heart valve problem and surgery to save the baby's life. Here's what the public doesn't understand: Nurses do this every day. ...

Read more...

I’ll be honest, when I first matriculated into medical school, I didn’t even know what a USMLE Step exam or clinical clerkship was. In fact, the first time I ever heard of them was from another applicant on the interview trail. I have always been a take-it-one-step-at-a-time type of person, but eventually, I would have to succumb to the pressure and ask upperclassmen about the exam. And what did they ...

Read more...

In the not-to-distant past, American health care was the gold standard. It offered job satisfaction and autonomy, was financially rewarding and was considered by many to be the most honorable profession. But as we all know, over the last two decades, increasing health care costs and demands and increasing competition for insurance contracts have changed the face of medicine. Metrics ranging from quality and safety (which are needed and were ...

Read more...

“Do you have sex with men, women or both?” This is the way that we were taught in medical school to ask a patient about their sexual history.  When we took our sample standardized patient exams, we were scored whether or not we asked this question.  In my understanding, this was supposed to be a non-judgmental, non-assuming way to elicit a sexual history. However, romantic partners generally come before sex (unless we ...

Read more...

Most Popular

Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories.