I recently read a medical school commencement, delivered by a physician, that was both inspiring and sadly reminiscent of what physicians should aspire to throughout their careers. This physician relayed how patients throughout her training and career had provided her with moments of clarity, helping her identify the "why" she chose a career in medicine. She went so far as to describe how a group of patients saved her from choosing ...

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With the advent of countless resources and study aids over the years to help medical students prepare for the USMLE Step 1 exam, ranging from the venerable First Aid review book and Anki flashcard decks, to online tools such as UWorld, Pathoma, SketchyMicro, Firecracker, Amboss, and countless more, the entire process of studying for Step 1 has become an arms race. At the same time, Step 1 scores have established ...

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“How did you like it there?” I ask, sitting down next to a new fellow (between bites of a plump sandwich, hoping there is no spinach in my teeth). I expect to hear the standard resident talking points — long hours, frequent call, and ballooning student loans. Instead, she surprises me. “Do you know how much they charged us to park there every month?” I frequently text friends who are residents at her previous program. It is a ...

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My wife and I had a baby a few months ago. Or, more accurately, she birthed a child while I sat in the corner, contemplating the miracle of reproductive physiology in a vasovagal fugue. In the months leading up to and following that wondrous moment, we found ourselves navigating the labyrinthine complexity of parental leave in graduate medical education. To start with the positive, we are both residents in the same ...

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Most physicians recall the rigors of their residency training through a mixed lens. In prior generations, a single-duty shift could stretch to 36 or more consecutive hours, but the exhaustion was buoyed by the camaraderie of sleepless on-call nights in the hospital. Despite the exhaustion, resident well-being received scant attention. Beginning with the 1984 Libby Zion case, and later the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty hour restrictions ...

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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 ...

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An excerpt from Career & Life Planning Guidebook for Medical Residents: The Best Part of Your Journey Is about to Begin. Life is a journey. Where is this journey of life taking you? Do you know? If I asked you where you will be in seven years, could you tell ...

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I consider myself one of the lucky ones because my wife and I couples matched to the same institution for residency. At the time we put our residency match lists in, we were just boyfriend and girlfriend, and the decision to couples match felt like a bigger leap forward for our relationship than deciding to ask her to marry me about a year later. It was the right decision for ...

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“Can we please try to be objective about this!” I said these words to myself over and over during this year’s interview season as we formulated our residency rank list. At my institution, the residents and faculty have equal sway in forming the rank list. The chief resident facilitates the resident half of the process. As the hours wore on during our last meeting, the discussion gradually deviated from assessing the ...

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Residency application season has begun! When I was applying last year, I spent a lot of time thinking not just about what programs I wanted to go to, where I wanted to live and how best to answer "Where do you see yourself in five years?" — but also trying to develop a method for making this decision. This is the mental model I came up with that helped me through ...

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Today, I’m thinking about the end of residency. But first, let me tell you about the beginning of residency. My first day of clinic, my very first week of residency, I had a grand total of one patient scheduled. A seasoned, outgoing resident had given me sign-out on this person, along with some big, knowledgeable shoes to fill. I did my most thorough pre-rounding the evening before. I prepped my note and ...

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I'm fascinated by the human body — the intricacies of it, the poetry of it. I am intrigued that a cell can come together with other cells to form tissues, those tissues, organs, and systems. The body is a powerful metaphor for unity: what happens when the one becomes the many, and the many, even more. It is a lesson in both individuality and community; how one sets out to create ...

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I was a 22-year-old intern, just about to finish my public health internship. I had an ambitious career ahead of me. I was trained as a public health educator. I was doing wellness fairs, writing newsletters, and excited to get to the next stage of my life. I wasn't yet certified, however, so when all of a sudden a job opportunity presented itself to me and gave me a chance ...

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Recently, thousands of new residency and fellowship graduates have earned their wings and will be, mostly metaphorically, hanging out their shingles. Sadly, though, as the excitement of finally finishing training after decades of schooling wears off, even great work can become routine. There is a parable about three men laying bricks. When asked what they were doing, the first man said, “Laying bricks.” The second man said, “Building a church.” And ...

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When I decided to become a doctor, little did I know that medical school and residency would be like a hazing for future physicians. We are broken down mentally and physically and then remade in the image of the "strong" doctor and to admit to being sick is equivalent to being weak. We are publicly shamed for admitting we don't know the answer to daily pimping on morning rounds. We ...

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“Medicine robbed me of my 20s.” I’ve heard the line many times in my medical training. It often comes accompanied by a long sigh, a slow sip of coffee, and a glazed stare off into the distance. “Imagine what could’ve been,” the seasoned physician muses, “if I had my 20s to do over, without medicine.” But now, I am mere months away from leaving my 20s behind. To be completely honest, I often feel similar ...

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The residency interview trail quickly becomes a lonesome journey, so when I was on it this winter, I’d usually have the hotel room television turned on for some background noise and often find myself watching ESPN’s SportsCenter. On my last interview in Philadelphia, the show was featuring the high flying phenom Zion Williamson, who’s set to be drafted this year to the NBA. When I finally returned to home in ...

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To my residency class: The clock is ticking, its hands spinning around its face faster and faster until I feel dizzy and disoriented. The remainder of the academic year can be measured in days, even hours for some. The carousel is slowing down to let some off, some on. Some, like me, will remain in the saddles of their brightly painted ponies. The cheerful calliope melody becomes distorted with the change ...

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As I listened to my attending explain how during her residency training she was on call every third night, I realized how the definition of "call" had significantly changed since that time. For her, it meant her shift started at 6 a.m. and ended at 8 p.m. the next day, totaling the shift to upwards of 36 hours. My call, on the other hand, was a mere 6 a.m. to ...

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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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