One of my most impactful experiences during my third year of medical school was spending time with my patients and getting to know them. I went into medicine because I believed in the special relationship between doctor and patient. As I was shadowing in college, I was amazed by how within minutes, a stranger would reveal physical and psychological details about their life they might not even share with their ...

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From a medical perspective, ‪Mr. G’s case seemed straightforward. His GFR had fallen. His kidneys were failing. Dialysis would be required as the best treatment for his renal condition. When I met with Mr. G later in the afternoon, he was in despair. He could not see how dialysis would save his life and expressed anguish towards the idea of living the remainder of his life on dialysis. He deliberated declining ...

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The unspoken culture in medicine has been that to maintain objective professionalism - some measure of distance is encouraged between the clinician and the patient. From anatomy lab, students are encouraged to forget patients as fellow human beings but organs and limbs. Medical rounds and board examinations reinforce that patients are diseases to be fixed. In some sense, such distance may be protective, as medical disease manifested in a human ...

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Many of the patients whom I met during my oncology rotation felt hopeful for a cure. They imagined how once their cancer went into remission, they could go back to their normal lives as they once were. I was struck then when one patient, a 72-year-old male Mr. G, shared with me a different attitude towards his cancer. His father, his mother, and his sister had all died from cancer. He ...

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As a medical student now in the time of COVID-19, many friends and family have turned to me seeking advice and guidance in an uncertain time. I’ve appreciated how my different experiences in medical school have prepared me for this responsibility. My immunology and pathophysiology classes can explain how COVID-19 spreads, how it attacks the respiratory system, and how the symptoms manifest itself. But I quickly came to realize that ...

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During a day of shadowing during my first year of medical school, the physician I was following had been running behind schedule and instructed me to keep the final patient company until he caught up. I knocked on the door and found myself facing a wide-eyed, middle-aged man staring down apprehensively at his severely bloated stomach. As I asked the patient what was going on, he suddenly looked up at me and ...

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I loved my endocrinology block in medical school. It was one of my favorite units. One hormone acts on another gland, which either induces a positive feedback releasing its successor hormone or a negative feedback blocking its predecessor. It was step-by-step. It was straightforward. I loved the material so much that I reached out to an endocrinologist to shadow her. I wanted to see the power of what we were learning ...

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After a semester of studying and taking written exams, we had our first OSCE in medical school. An OSCE — or an objective structured clinical examination — is the real deal. Instead of filling out multiple choice boxes, we instead work with a real human being, which for me is a welcome change. The actor is given a script with their unique condition and story — it’s a simulation of what ...

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In recent years, there has been a push across medical schools to change the grading scale towards that of a pass-fail system. The appeals of a pass-fail system to me were obvious. Instead of worrying about my grades as I had in college to maintain an adequate enough GPA to get into medical school, I believed that merely passing would lessen much of the pressures I faced as an undergrad. Those ...

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In medical school, the lessons and stories have a unifying theme that connects the threads of humanity. In medicine, I could find these stories, the feelings of loss and fear and hope and love. In the face of illness, suffering, and death, we often see the unvarnished sides of the human condition — the more raw sides of our nature hidden behind the decorum of everyday living, behind the curations ...

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As part of my medical school’s inter-professional learning, I shadowed a hospital chaplain this afternoon. While physicians principally attend to the physical healing of patients, chaplains also fulfill an important role in health care: meeting the spiritual needs of patients. When faced with disease, patients often grapple with deeper questions about their illness beyond just what the diagnosis and treatment plans are. Immediately upon arriving at the hospital, there was a ...

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I had just taken my final anatomy exam and finished a long two-month ordeal dissecting through and memorizing every component of the human body. At the beginning of the course, I had been excited, energized, honored to commence such a foundational experience in medical training. By the end, I was exhausted, wanting nothing more than just to sleep. The very next day, we began physiology with two weeks of cardiology separating ...

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