In 2006, the Mayo Clinic asked 192 patients an important question: What makes an ideal physician? From their responses, several characteristics emerged. Among the top criteria, they wanted doctors to be “personal,” “empathetic” and “humane.” This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Of course, we want doctors who relate to their patients as people instead of just another “case.” We want doctors to have sympathy for ...

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During rounds, in between seeing patients, the medical student pulls out his phone and scans a dating app for new matches. In the team room, a resident opens Facebook before responding to a non-urgent page. Each of these instances may seem trivial enough, but I’ve seen both lead to poor evaluations, reprimands, or others whispering terms like “unprofessional.” In the medical world, there’s an implicit understanding that while you’re at work, ...

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