In medical school, you’re not taught how to give stellar patient presentations. Yes, you’re shown the traditional order of things: “Give an effective one-liner first, then tell the HPI [history of present illness] but only give pertinent info, etc.” Just exactly how to deliver the punch that impresses your attending is an art. And it’s an art that takes some time to perfect. My very first time presenting a patient was ...

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If you're reading this, you may have a son, a daughter, a family friend, or know of someone who is in college and considering medical school. As a medical student mentor, I share words of advice to my alma mater's American Medical Student Association chapter and thought I would share them here. 1. When preparing for the MCAT, take a diagnostic test at the beginning of your study period, one in ...

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Back in the 70s, Dr. Denton A. Cooley would do eight or so heart operations a day often on babies and children with heart defects. One day, he operated on four babies. Three of them died. It was around eight o'clock at night, and as Dr. Cooley walked down the hall with his team, he said, "Today was a bad day, but ...

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AI, artificial intelligence, is all the rage right now in medical news media. And this has many practicing physicians, even medical students, concerned. Will AI make diagnose heavy specialties such as dermatology and radiology obsolete? Can AI give rise to new medical specialties? How many tasks traditionally done by doctors will now be handled by AI? I believe that there is a right to be worried. We do not have any ...

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"Hey, you're a med student. Right?" "Yes, I am. Do you need me to scrub in?" "That would be wonderful, yes! Everyone is either out on vacation or is sick. It's just me and the resident." "OK, I'll be back in a few minutes." I was on my OB/GYN rotation, and once a week I follow one of the surgeons. It was 7:20 a.m., and a patient was coming in for an unplanned, stat ...

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When it comes to communication in the hospital setting, I have seen many iterations. My favorite version was at the VA on the inpatient medicine unit. Every morning, we all met in the medicine team room to discuss patients on the floor. The team’s social worker, nurses, residents, students, and the attending ran down the list to identify individual patient goals, what’s needed for safe and effective discharges home, and ...

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What is self-awareness? A quick Google search says that it is “conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires.” In other words, my worldview is different than yours. Hypothetically, I am a Republican, and you are a Democrat. You don’t believe in vaccinations, but I do. I believe in universal health care, but you disagree with my stance. You believe in stricter gun laws, and I don’t. That ...

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"Please help me. I was brushing my teeth this morning and started bleeding a ton from my mouth." Joe (identifying information changed) pointed to a bucket next to his bed. I was horrified to see close to two pints of blood in it. With gloves on, I pulled out my penlight and a new tongue depressor. "Open your mouth wide for me Joe. I need to see where you are bleeding from." I clicked ...

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Based on my clinical experiences, there are ten pieces of advice I would give to any medical student starting their rotations that will maximize productivity and lead to a robust and thriving work environment (your interns will thank you). 1. Do as complete of a workup on your assigned patients as you can. Be thorough with your admission H&P. Think of all the tests, labs and imaging studies you want ordered. ...

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"Ms. Taylor*?" "Yes, it's me. I'm so deeply sorry to you and the team. You all helped me so much when I was here. But I started drinking a day after I left and blacked out." Two weeks ago, Ms. Taylor was found by her sister lying unconscious on the bathroom floor after a week-long alcohol binge. Next to her was a suicide note. "My depression is robbing me of my freedom. I ...

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