I’ve been mean to my body lately. And since I know better, I talk negatively to myself about why I continue to be mean to my body. Lately, I’ve been considering why I do this -- why we do this -- and how to think about ourselves differently. Several months ago I had immobilizing low back pain. I broke my low back in high school, and this pain was similar. After ...

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I just had a conversation with a physician and faculty member at my school. He started the conversation like this: “It’s alright if you disagree with me, and I can disagree with you too. Good academic discourse should allow people to disagree with each other.” He then allowed me to question him and explain my perspectives for over an hour as he explained his answers, helped clarify some points, and gave ...

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I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I am in medical school, which alone tends to drive people into scheduling mayhem. I am in student government. I am on the official basketball team at my school. I am preparing for an AMSA talk. I workout regularly, I continue to write, I cook and do my laundry and spend time outside when I can. My caffeination is at an all-time ...

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I stood in line at the grocery store waiting to pay for my items. The woman behind me, who would be categorized as obese, was eyeing some of the snacks so conveniently placed in the checkout aisle. She grabbed a meal bar and analyzed it for a few seconds, then said aloud to me: “You ever had one of these? They’re pretty good. And they’re gluten-free, that’s how you know they’re healthy.” Healthy. What ...

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A few days ago I received a message: “Any advice for incoming med students?” As an old, wise, seasoned, now-second year medical student, I know everything. Just kidding — I fumbled my way through first year like everyone else, and just like you will too. No piece of advice allows you to opt out from the challenges of medical school year one. My advice isn’t the “normal” recommendations incoming medical students receive. You ...

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Dr. Eugene Gu. He is -- was -- a surgical resident at Vanderbilt University. His resume exemplifies academic perfection: valedictorian in high school, undergraduate degree from Stanford, medical degree from Duke, surgical residency at Vanderbilt. He also founded his own research company. Not once throughout the span of his academic or professional career would one have any reason question his capability or competency. But several weeks ago Vanderbilt fired him, citing “performance” issues. Why? Because ...

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A few days ago I learned about a different manifestation of imposter syndrome. The “usual” one, of course, shows up as, “I shouldn’t be here because I’m not qualified or smart enough to be here.” The one that was confessed to me a few days ago, however, went like this: “I shouldn’t be here because I don’t know what I’m doing here.” They explained how it seems that everyone is filing away into ...

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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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The data tells us when physicians run hospitals or clinics, those institutions have better health outcomes and higher employee satisfaction scores. So now, what do we do with that information? Watch and discuss. Jamie Katuna is a medical student.  She can be reached on Facebook.

Here are the top 10 things medical students want in a medical school. Thank you Jamie Katuna!

Physicians have the best job in the world. Sometimes that's hard to see, but let's not forget it. Thank you, Jamie Katuna.

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