I’m passionate about patient safety. In no small part because I was raised to be. My mom has a lot of letters behind her name (RN, BSN, MSN), and she’s dedicated her career to the field. Before I was accepted into medical school, I knew about "six sigma," the "Swiss cheese model" and root-cause analysis. I’d been taught about creating a culture of safety and the example of the airline industry. ...

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“Aren’t you cute,” he said as he smiled and squeezed her cheeks. On the start of a new rotation, a medical student walked into clinic and introduced herself to the attending physician. With all of the news surrounding the Weinstein debacle, Alyssa Milano has urged women to share their stories of sexual harassment or abuse using the words “me too.” What has transpired is that a whole community of women from ...

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A father and a son are in a car accident.  The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital.  The doctor comes in and exclaims, “I can’t operate on this boy!” “Why not?” the nurse asks. “Because he is my son,” the doctor responds. How is this possible? *** I first saw this riddle in a Washington Post article in October 2016. I was four years out of residency, and for the ...

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Eighty percent of diagnoses can be made based on the history and physical.  Take the subjective and objective; throw in some medical history, family history, social history and you can figure out your assessment and plan. Doctors are the detectives of the body and the more facts, the easier it is to solve the mystery. This is the fictional note that I wrote in my head concerning a fellow physician friend ...

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It’s 3 a.m., and I’m wide awake.  I’m giddy with excitement and scared.  I am 41 years old and tomorrow feels like the first day of school all over again.  Only it isn’t.  Tomorrow is my first day back at the hospital where I work as a surgeon.  Tomorrow is also my first day back at work after chemotherapy. Two months ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I underwent bilateral ...

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I struggle with customer service. I truly never anticipated that it would be such a big part of my career. I never fathomed that it would be something that I struggle with on a daily basis. Well, honestly it does not happen every day and does not occur at every facility that I work at. Yet, it happens often enough that it has affected where I work, how I interact ...

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Dear fellow students, I am addressing you today as a comrade, a peer, as someone who shares your concerns and understands the pressure and stress you experience in medical school. It is true that medical schools attract very similar kind of people: Medical students are smart, hard-working individuals who are striving for excellence and achievements. They want to help the sick, the poor and the needy and cultivate a sustainable change ...

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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 ...

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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, ...

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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 — ...

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