As first-year medical students, we learn that the hallmark of a holistic medical education is an emphasis on the human, personal side of this profession. One way we develop our patient-centered competency is through attending patient panels as part of our curriculum. Here, we learn from people who experience healthcare from the opposite end. From cancer survivors to leaders in healthcare policy, these panels supplement our education by encouraging us ...

Read more...

"Death comes for all of us. It is our fate as living, breathing, metabolizing organisms. Dealing with the fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live." - Paul Kalanithi, MD Recently, first-year students of the medical and physician’s assistant classes completed their seventh and final practical exam in clinical anatomy. Through fifteen weeks, 117 students learned the structures of the human body organized by region, working from ...

Read more...

I’ve often been struck by a painting of Maimonides in my medical school. The artwork features him holding pages of a book that say, “Teach thy tongue to say I do not know and thou shalt progress.” That quote resonates with me more each day. As a first-year MD student, I’ve uttered the words “I don’t know” much more than ever. I’ve discovered that, whether I’m naming nerves found in the ...

Read more...

As I was finishing up with my doctor’s appointment for the required immunizations I needed for medical school, my doctor asked if he could give me some advice for my upcoming journey. Being the clueless pre-medical student I was at the time, I said, “Please do.”  He said something along the lines of “They’re going to try to rewire your way of thinking, but stay true to who you are.” ...

Read more...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" It's a question I frequently hear from physicians on my clinical rotations. Phrased somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the wording allows me to answer either in jest or in earnest. "An astronaut," I sometimes say, hoping for laughs and no follow-up. Other times, I try out different responses like Halloween costumes: a critical care specialist, an emergency physician, a surgeon. If I want the questioner's ...

Read more...

"I should explain to you, Socrates, that our friend Cratylus has been arguing about names; he says they are natural and not conventional; […] that there is a truth or correctness in them." - Plato I once heard that the sound of one’s name is the most beautiful thing in the universe, which is probably an overstatement. But one’s name is one of the first words one hears from birth, as parents ...

Read more...

I had been diagnosed three days prior, given lithium to stabilize and a benzodiazepine to sleep. I went home. Things did not get better. I had been admitted just that morning after a long, confusing night in the ED. I did not yet understand the severity of what had happened -- or even what had happened. The mania was still mostly euphoric and speckled with bursts of joy, but between these ...

Read more...

I’m writing this for my tribe of worriers and self-doubters, people for whom ever-present test stress is inextricable to the med school experience.  Sure, every medical student becomes preoccupied fretting over exams to some degree.  That’s part of what you sign up for.  But our preoccupation is something greater than that—it towers over us and bullies us.  It makes us cower in the corner, begging to be spared from harm. We’re ...

Read more...

I am frequently asked: "Why are you pursuing a dual MD/JD?" Neither profession is a family business; no one in my family is a doctor or a lawyer — but I’ve always dreamt big. I always wanted to get the most possible out of my education. Beginning in elementary school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but it was not until college that I ...

Read more...

I graduated from an international medical school this past spring. I'm currently in the midst of a preliminary year as an internal medicine resident at St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. Next year, I'll start my dream residency in anesthesiology at Brown University. Like many physicians, my journey to medicine has had its share of twists and turns. But my story is slightly different than the ...

Read more...

“What challenges do you see yourself facing as a doctor?”
I’m sitting in a suit, facing a young Asian woman with black, round glasses across a desk. On the desk in front of her is an iPad, and she sits cross-legged, hands resting on her legs. I’m in my interview for medical school, and the woman across me, who introduced herself as Angela, is awaiting my response. I pause and mentally check ...

Read more...

Despite growing older, the contents of my phone calls back home have remained the same. However, the contents of my life have not. Conversations with my parents consist of what I plan to cook that week or how I'm feeling about my workload, but rarely do I share the details of my research project or my struggle to conceptualize the nephron. This is not because I don't want to share these ...

Read more...

OK, quick — word association time. I say “doctor,” and you think what? “Smart,” right? And it’s true. Doctors are smart. But before you buy into the myth that every doctor has breezed through school and could fall out of bed with a #2 pencil and crush an exam without thinking about it, consider that over 1,100 internal medicine doctors fail their board exam every year. And that’s just one medical specialty. When ...

Read more...

With 44% of physicians self-reporting burnout in the 2019 Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report, most will agree the profession is in crisis. Of the 29 specialties included, all had at least 1 in 4 members reporting burnout, many with more physicians suffering from burnout than not. Hardly a U.S. problem, burnout affects physicians around the world as well as medical students, and I would ...

Read more...

Recently, at medical schools across the country, first-year students officially donned the physician's traditional white coat for the first time. The white coat ceremony is a powerful symbolic moment. It signifies that the students are moving beyond their identity as ordinary citizens and into their new identity as healers. The ceremony celebrates their idealism and their commitment to a life of caring for others. And, although they may not realize this, ...

Read more...

Think studying abroad doesn’t fit with your future plans? Think again. Since the day I applied to university, I had been researching how I could incorporate global learning into my undergraduate degree program, while also thinking about my future goals for getting into medical school. When I was accepted to do a Bachelor of Science with a double major in chemistry and biology, I surprisingly still found time for extracurricular activities ...

Read more...

When I was accepted to medical school, I debated — hard — whether or not to attend. Out of the physicians I shadowed and interviewed, 19 out of 20 advised me not to become a physician. Their dissatisfaction was rampant. Over and over, I was told, “Don’t be a doctor. Medicine’s not what it used to be.” They spoke of concerns ranging from unreasonable work expectations to inhumane conditions. They described insurmountable pressure, decreasing ...

Read more...

Mindfulness and meditation.  Meditation and mindfulness.  Allow me to elaborate. I went to medical school in the 1980s.  Nobody talked about complementary and alternative approaches to healthcare or mind-body medicine.  It wasn’t because we students thought it was weird; it wasn’t even on our collective radar screen.  It was, however, out there even then.  Andrew Weil was busy in his movement toward integrative medicine, and Jon Kabat-Zinn was pioneering his Mindfulness-Based ...

Read more...

“First Aid For The USMLE Step 1 — cost: $45, format: reference book.” “Pathoma — cost: $99 (1-year subscription), format: video explanations + reference book.” “SketchyMedical — cost: $150 (1-year subscription), format: cartoon video memory device.” Our naïve MS2 eyes were glued to the screen as our noble MS3 predecessors clicked through the slideshow, pausing to talk about which third-party study resources were “super high yield” and which were only “moderately high yield” ...

Read more...

I have just finished another round of that dreaded process that we call “the interview process.” Without fail, this process has haunted me almost cyclically every 3 to 4 years in the last 11 years of my life. First, there were medical school interviews, residency program interviews, and then lastly, fellowship interviews. You would think that after so many rounds of applying, it would get easier. You would think after I ...

Read more...

89 Pages

Most Popular

Join 150,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.