In my third year of medical school, I started a rotation at the nearby VA hospital. Walking toward the polished glass doors that morning, I saw my reflection — clean white coat, assured expression to cover up how lost I felt. It was my second clinical rotation ever, and my first time at the VA. I found my team and soon met a patient I'd be seeing for the next month. ...

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Doctors are life long learners. The feedback to read more is often heard by medical students and residents in their quest to acquire the knowledge to understand health and disease processes and direct patient care. With so many demands on a resident and early career physician’s time, how do you make the most of the directive to read more? During residency training and throughout your medical career, the patient case mix ...

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Residency training is often considered to be one of the most daunting experiences in a physician’s career. Each day comes with its own package of highs and lows.  Every year is a new challenge, and a young physician has to adapt significantly as the journey unfolds. Having gone through this process over the past three years as an internal medicine resident, I thought it would be useful for me to ...

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STAT_LogoWhat if I told you that, as your doctor, I’d rather listen to your memoir than to your lungs? Or that while I find the sound of a beating heart a marvel to behold, I’m more interested in hearing the jazz song that you wrote or talking about the words tattooed on your left wrist. What if ...

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I remember the day well. The dean of my medical school called me directly. As soon as she announced herself on the other end of the line, I knew it was bad news. Deans don’t tend to make social calls, and I was right. She was calling to tell me that I had failed the USMLE Step 1, the first in a long series of standardized national exams to complete ...

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A kind resident or attending asks me, "I'm going for a coffee run. Can I get you anything?" I politely decline. "You sure?" "Yeah, I'm actually doing a caffeine-free residency." A mix of utter disbelief and disgust crosses their faces, probably yours too. With skepticism, people ask: "Why?" I actually hate the taste of coffee. (That is absurd in Seattle, where I'm doing my residency training.) Whenever I try a ...

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I am a young physician practicing medicine in the "motherland" of God-gifted Ethiopia, which is located in eastern Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. I want to share my personal story, as well as to expose some of the serious problems facing physicians and patients in my country. I started medical school, which requires the highest academic performance of any career path when I was 18 after completing secondary school. Despite ...

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On October 23, 2018, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot was 1.6 billion dollars, making it one of the largest lottery jackpots in history. In the week leading up to the drawing, the hospital was abuzz with chatter. Discussions about the possibility of becoming an instant billionaire were just too good to resist. During that week, I found myself sitting at the nurse's station in one of the ICUs at midnight. A nurse ...

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There’s always so much to write about, and there’s never any time.  I work too much; it’s become evident recently that I need to cut down.  I have started noticing that things affect me much more than they ever did; there are days I hide my tears, and days I show my tears, when before the tears would have waited for the occasional (yes, occasional) shower.  This is a function ...

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Last Thursday I got up at 5 a.m. to bake a lasagna. Admittedly, lasagna for breakfast is not my typical go-to, but last Thursday was the last session of a year-long advanced faculty development course on teaching skills that I co-direct and teach. In one of our first sessions of the year, we used the ice-breaker, “What would you choose for your last meal?” In the past, when I’ve asked this ...

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