Learned helplessness. It’s a psychological concept marked by a perceived loss of power, and it’s prevalent in medicine. We are taught early on how little we are in this colossal world. We are told what to do, when to do it, and what we will get for it. Our objections go unheard or—worse—ignored. Let me quote a paragraph from The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz:

They were conducting a series of experiments on basic ...

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In medicine, there is a key group of people we seem to be excluding: introverts. I noticed this twice at the recent AMSA convention. It made me realize how often our culture in medicine rewards the boldness, loudness, and confidence so often associated with extroversion. The first instance was after my talk. I was answering questions from a group of people when someone came up, handed me a note, thanked me, then walked ...

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There is no glory in defense. Fans don’t notice it. The most perfectly-executed defensive play results in a non-event; that is, the other team doesn’t score. Then everyone forgets about it, and the game moves on. But there is an art to defense. It is reactionary in nature: You must read the offense and anticipate what’s coming. You have to study the opposing players one-by-one, so you know their strengths and ...

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Someone who I care about deeply messaged me today: “I think I’m done with surgery.” This person, a surgeon, feels like his potential is elsewhere. There are more opportunities, different challenges, and fulfilling experiences in other places and he is ready to explore. I told him that he inspires me. But I am in medical school. So how could someone leaving the medical field be inspiring to me? Because inspiration does not come from a job description or a fancy ...

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Medicine has been called an anti-mentorship program: In that trainees tend to find a vast amount of physicians who they don’t want to be like, rather than finding tons of inspiring ones who they do want to emulate. So how do we navigate this? How do we, as trainees, isolate and latch onto the physicians who are full of energy, life, and potential? Who are excited about what they do? Who have brilliant ways ...

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I recently collected anecdotes from women in medicine who have noticed the same thing I’ve noticed: We’re not as comfortable here as our male counterparts. Despite progress, medicine remains a patriarchy -- an “old boy’s club” -- and the women in this world are frequently reminded of this status quo. In collecting these anecdotes, I’ve noticed two main themes for the type of advice and comments women receive. The first one speaks ...

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I pulled into my driveway at 1 in the morning after spending eight consecutive hours in the library. I shut the engine off and allowed the music to continue. And I didn’t move. And then I started to cry. Initially, I resisted the tears, then conceded to the overpowering emotions so desperate to escape. And for ten minutes, I sat in my dark car in the cold at 1 in the morning ...

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I failed a test in medical school. I got my score back and there it was: 57%. I wasn’t even close. I felt shocked, because I have never failed a test before. I felt embarrassed, because I was comparing myself to my peers. And I felt dumb. But the worst part about this experience wasn’t the fact that I got a low score — the worst part is the ...

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We are on the brink of a crisis-level physician shortage in the United States. How did we get here? And what can we do now? Jamie Katuna is a medical student.  She can be reached on Facebook.

On June 30th, a physician entered a hospital in New York City with an assault rifle. He killed one person, a physician, and wounded six others. He then set himself on fire and shot himself in the chest, dying by suicide. I, nor anybody else, knows this man’s motives or what was going on in his head. But one detail in the story stuck out to me. According to CNN, ...

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