I’m about two-thirds of the way through my 3rd year of medical school, and I have hit my wall. I have become so fed up with the set up of medical school. I think a decent amount of this comes from the fact I am on my 6th week of an eight-week surgery clerkship (an area of medicine that I literally have zero interest in). I’m tired of waking up ...

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She could have been my charming tiny kindergarten teacher, sitting there nonchalantly in her wheelchair with neatly folded arms in her lap. The delicate, airy cloud of silvery blonde hair on her head resembled Queen Elizabeth’s style. I named her Ms. Elizabeth. A few moments ago, though, she looked like a young child who could not comprehend the meaning of her condition. Whenever she was spoken to, her mind seemed ...

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I work as a pediatrician in a bustling metropolis, in an outpatient setting of a world-renowned academic center. One of those non-profit hospitals you see in television ads. For the last three years, our outpatient encounters have plummeted, and the mothership has put all efforts into recuperating financial losses. Meanwhile, our office phones are ringing off the hook, and we cannot seem to hire enough nursing staff to deal with ...

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As a private practice specialist in an affluent metropolitan area, I am often inundated with requests for consultation by local residents and primary physicians. That’s fine — it’s what I do, and it’s what I enjoy doing. Hey, it pays the bills, and I won’t complain about that. Concierge medicine has taken a foothold locally, and this means more referrals directly from doctors who insist we take care of their patients ...

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It is December 2017. I have been on the road for the last five months, completing my five months of elective rotations. I am a fourth-year medical student aspiring to specialize in family medicine. I also want to learn procedures, so I did two months of surgery, three months of family practice electives. At the beginning of this process, I had wanted to be a general surgeon, but I ended ...

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Even though we have probably 20 years of work remaining as physicians, like a lot of you, I like to think about how we will spend our retirement years. After all, in twenty years we will still only be in our early fifties, hopefully with no dependents and a lot of financial security. Of course, my wife and I are interested in traveling, spending time with grandchildren (hopefully), gardening and ...

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Let’s talk about the cycle of abuse. No, I am not referring to the very serious issue of domestic violence. Instead, I am talking about the graduate medical education system. No one is a resident forever: the duration of each residency is predetermined with a wide range of three to nine years. The self-limited nature of this experience decreases the incentive for participants to advocate for changes. And the attitude ...

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I am an Olympian. I am a retired All-American student-athlete.  I am a resident.  I am burned out. Let me be clear: I love medicine and the opportunity to have privileged relationships with patients and their families.  I thrive on the fast-paced environment, growing to-do lists, and the chance to work in a field with endless learning.  I love working in team environments to provide optimal care for patients and their ...

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This year has brought about change — the theme of 2017. As it comes to a close and I reflect back, it is so hard to believe what is going on in the world today, let alone just the United States. In 2017, I graduated from my internal medicine residency training program, passed my board exam and celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary. I helped my family cope with my grandmother’s progressive ...

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In an article published by the Atlantic earlier this year, Ryan Park writes that neither truck drivers nor bankers work the kind of gruelingly long hours that doctors -- particularly young doctors in their residency programs -- do. It is no secret that residency life is demanding and exhausting. Over the last decade, it has also become controversial. Almost a test in itself, as if gauging doctors’ ...

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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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