Reams have been written on how medical students ought to select their field of medicine. There are even personality-type tests that ask questions about what kinds of situations you like, how you react to problems, and your working style that purport to predict for which specialty you are suited. (I came up as an oncologist or a nephrologist.) Others have opined that once you crunch the lifetime salary numbers, and then compare ...

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The topic of nurse practitioners in the context of primary care has been resurgent of late, most notably in this post by Maggie Mahar. Much of the conversation is dominated by assertions such as this:

…Nurse Practitioners have the needed training and that, in fact, doctors who have gone through the full medical school curriculum are over-qualified for a job that, today, is more about coordinating ...

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I have a patient in his 60s who is riddled with metastatic lung cancer. He isn't on hospice (oncology refuses to let him out of their clutches just yet; actually, the problem is that around here Hospice won't accept patients still on palliative chemo or radiation) but is aware of what they have to offer. He and his wife have assured me that they will let me know when they ...

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Fear is such a powerful emotion, humans will do almost anything to relieve it. The most effective way to control fear is to manage whatever it is we're afraid of. Night lights against the monsters under the bed; locks on the doors and a handgun under the pillow to fend off intruders; annual mammograms and PSAs to keep us from dying of cancer. Although all these things may relieve fear ...

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