Tag: clinical competency



Finding Your Voice in Medical School

One of the biggest challenges medical students face is finding their voice: with their medical team, with the hospital staff, with patients, and with their chosen specialty. As a medical student, you want to be proactive, to advocate for the patient, and to learn the best management techniques. But ‘proactive’ for one physician can easily be ‘annoying’ for another physician. Likewise, what can be viewed as ‘lack of initiative’ by one physician is ‘eager to …

The Exam Room Cloud

Last spring, I saw my first real patient. The plan was to go into an exam room and take the history and physical of a real patient who had graciously offered to sacrifice half of his day. A doctor would watch everything and give feedback. The intimidating fact that I was being monitored made me feel like I was about to go on stage in front of an audience. If you had followed me into my …

A Med Student’s Biggest Privilege

Two interesting opinion pieces published a few months ago inspired me write this column: one from Tal Fortgang, a Princeton freshman defending his “white man privilege,” and another from Max Ritvo explaining what exactly that white man’s privilege is. To summarize their points, the former author laments that his academic success is shadowed by society attributing his successes to being genetically a white man. As a result, society believes he is able to attend an Ivy …

The Non-Inferiority Complex in Medicine

“You know, the globus pallidus.”  My coaxing words ripened in the air between us.  Josh admitted it sounded familiar, but couldn’t quite remember the time or the place.  This concerned me, because my friend was a highly accomplished emergency physician, yet he wrinkled his nose at “globus pallidus” like it was a piece of decomposing fruit. “It’s in the brain,” I said helpfully. He smiled, “That’s probably why it sounds familiar.” A few hours before, …

A Good Doctor, aka The Goldilocks Effect

When I told people I was going to medical school, the first thing I’d hear was, “Oh, you’ll be a good doctor.” As an idealistic and energetic first-year, I was flattered every time a standardized patient complimented me. But I wasn’t a good doctor — I don’t even have an MD. I was exposed to esoteric subjects like biochemistry and physiology, but I wasn’t much help to any person in distress. I believed, like my …

Ethics in Training: Creating Humanistic Practitioners from Competent Clinicians

Medical training prides itself on being an art, never simply a black-and-white field where answers to increasingly complex health questions are merely algorithmically derived. It follows then that the only way for medical knowledge to transcend this rigid, computational process is through the accumulation of clinical experience, which over enough time should inform our intuition to the point where we become masters of navigating a sea of grays. This archetype is classically understood to be …

Doctor versus Algorithm: Which Would You Trust?

If your doctor and an algorithm arrived at two different diagnoses, which would you trust?  Of course, it depends on the specific context but this question opens a much needed discussion about a transformative process occurring in medicine: computers are beginning to perform tasks of physicians.  While modern medicine utilizes medical technology primarily as an aid for physicians, future technology may afford diagnostic capability that rivals that of humans. The question is, in what capacity …

In Their Shoes

I met a resident who advocated that all medical students should become patients and have the same procedures that they order for their patients performed on them à la the movie “The Doctor.” While I agree that being a patient offers perspective, I don’t agree that I need to have tertiary syphilis to understand how to interact with a patient facing the illness. We act as health care providers and now view the world in …

Competency-Based Medicine: Why it Matters and How it Will Affect You

On October 4 – 5, 2013, the American Medical Association hosted the “Accelerating Change in Medical Education Conference” in Chicago, IL., bringing together leaders in the realm of medical education for discussions aimed at “closing the gap between current physician training and the needs of our evolving health care system.” In attendance were two in-Training editors, Emily Lu and Jarna Shah, who reported on the conference and offer their in-depth medical student perspectives on the …

Review of Systems

With my Fisher-Price stethoscope drooping to my knees, I opened up my first practice as a young boy, working out of my family’s kitchen, my hours fluctuating with my nap schedule. I was a dragon-seeker bent on improbable rescues, and as I would fiddle with my tools, I would imagine a future where patients returned to my office full of life and gratitude. What I did not count on as a five-year-old—or even as a …

On Becoming a Doctor: Excellent Medical Student, Terrible Clinician

There is a saying that you enter medical school wanting to help people but exit it wanting to help yourself. It may be a cynical view, but a realistic one. The criteria to being a good medical student are far different from being a good doctor. Medical education may be breeding a legion of self-serving, grade-grubbing, SOAP-note spewing machines rather than the “empathetic,” “compassionate” and “caring” physicians of admission essays yore. I was no different. …

Amy Ho Amy Ho (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer Emeritus

University of Texas Southwestern Medical School


Amy is a Class of 2014 medical student at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX going into Emergency Medicine with a strong interest in health policy. She is on the AMPAC Board of Directors, TEXPAC Board of Directors, and a contributing writer for Motley Fool.