"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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The most important piece of advice I can give to incoming medical students is to be vigilant about how you are feeling day-to-day and to be aware of your actions. As is often said, our personalities, the distinctive makeup that makes us who we are, are set in stone. If you are a mindful person, you'll stay that way even as you get older. If you are someone who likes ...

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Finishing my ER shift for the day, I waited for the shuttle at a busy intersection. Within a minute of drowning myself in music, I saw an obese man at the bus stop suddenly collapse to the ground. I removed my backpack and ran the fastest I have ever run in my life across the street to him. His body was shaking violently, and I waved and yelled to the nearby police ...

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September 2015, a few weeks into my first year of medical school. Mr. Smith (John) (identifying information and event details altered to protect confidentiality) wore an orange jumpsuit with the letters "COUNTY JAIL" running down his right pant sleeve. At all times, I felt the presence of his police officer sitting right outside the shock room. As I interviewed John, he had a face void of emotion. I introduced myself as a ...

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November 2017. I was on my pediatrics rotation at a local community clinic. My attending asked me if I could see Johnathan (identifying information and event details altered to protect confidentiality), an eight-year-old boy who has been increasingly fatigued since the start of the school year. I walked down the hallway laden with paintings of Amazon animals and knocked on room #13. "Good afternoon, Ms. Sanders. My name's T.J., and I'm ...

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