On Friday morning, I will receive an email that tells me where I will go for residency. I have spent most of the last year preparing for this email. Over the summer, I completed my sub-internships where I hoped to impress members of my chosen field (psychiatry) and secure letters of recommendation. On my consult-liaison psychiatry sub-internship, I was genuinely interested in my patients' lives, but I also felt my ...

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In my first quarter of medical school, we learned the pulmonary exam.  We were told to watch the patient’s breathing, feel for any asymmetries, use our hands to gauge resonance and listen to all lung fields with our stethoscopes. It didn’t seem too difficult. Our instructor demonstrated the exam on one of my classmates, and we were set loose with a checklist to practice on one another. I repeated the steps ...

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I had spent the morning in the operating room, holding open the mouth of a young man while the resident physician attempted to stabilize the fractures in his jaw bone and lace wires between his upper and lower gums, much the way one would thread a shoelace between the sides of a sneaker. Peering into the patient’s mouth, I couldn’t help but wonder if he could be an asymptomatic carrier ...

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