Being a hospitalized patient is perhaps one of the most disempowering experiences an individual can face (besides being in war, or a prisoner). Patients face constant uncertainty; having no idea what time their physician will visit, when they will be taken for their tests, or who will suddenly interrupt them again with a demand - perhaps an early morning blood draw, or yet another round of interrogation and uncomfortable examination ...

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As a physician in training, you’re in the first quarter of your new position as an intern or resident. If you are an early career physician, you are adjusting to life as an attending. What exactly does that mean for you? Are you moving from rotation to rotation hopeful that someone will show you the ropes? In the midst of change, that’s usually what we do. We look at the schedule, ...

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“Good morning, Mr. S! How are you feeling today?” I ask as I step into his hospital room. Yesterday, Mr. S was admitted for infective endocarditis and has been tolerating antibiotic treatment well. I am a medical student on my acute cardiology rotation taking care of him. “I’m feeling fine,” he says, and I proceed to ask about how he slept, if he’s experiencing any chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, ...

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The supervising resident’s Voalte phone dinged: “Dr. Mel: Please meet Dr. Rosemond at room 514 for Cardiology rounds.” She scrolled up a few texts and saw that her male counterpart who had rounded the previous day had been addressed as “Dr. Stearnes.” When Mel mentioned the discrepancy to Jacob Stearnes, he just shrugged and said, “The cardiology nurse probably doesn’t even know my first name.” When Mel mentioned the discrepancy to her husband, ...

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Fresh out of residency and having just turned 29 years old, I started my first job as a general pediatrician in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. One of the first official tasks of my new position involved picking out brand new office furniture for my private windowed office which was housed along the perimeter of the multi-specialty clinic I had joined. I went with a blond L-shaped desk and shelf unit ...

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In 2002, when I began my first hospitalist job, I was a dyed-in-the-wool hospital medicine convert, convinced that the transfer of inpatient care to true specialists in hospital medicine (hospitalists) would dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of inpatient care, increase patient satisfaction and decrease costs. By 2008, I had developed serious doubts, which prompted me to publish an editorial in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, entitled “The Expanding or Shrinking ...

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I started internship July 1, 2008, as a terrified 25-year-old blank slate. Most days started with a combination of nausea and dread as I pumped myself up in the resident parking lot — conveniently located a mere 1/2 mile from the entrance to the ivory tower I called home. The days were long. The nights were longer. Every month I had the chance to be a brand new idiot as a ...

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We all have that one patient. That one patient who can always find a way to turn a good day bad, who just knows how to push your buttons in all the wrong ways. Who’s that patient for me? Let’s just call him Elton Reed. Oh, Mr. Reed … where to begin with him? When we first met, I remember being so excited and energized by him. He just had this fresh feeling ...

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“Tell me something you love.” I love warm chocolate chip cookies — straight out of the oven. “Thank you. Tell me something you love.” I love to read, to write, to dance. I don’t know yet if I love medicine. We were gathered in a ballroom, a group of doctors and dancers, to explore the art of medicine through movement. I sat cross-legged, looking into the eyes of a person I did not know, ...

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The day begins at 6 a.m. I am rounding on my nine patients, quickly examining them and providing a brief update about the plan. Like the other harried residents, I am speeding from one room to the next, trying to get everything done on time. And then, inevitably my beeper goes off — “Patient in emergency room being admitted, please call for signout.” I stop in my tracks. I can ...

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