At 7:21 p.m., I arrive at the hospital for the first overnight shift of my medical career. It’s not a great start — the bus was late, and I didn’t sleep nearly enough this afternoon in preparation for the night ahead.
I come from a family of repeaters. We repeat the questions that had unsatisfactory answers, the jokes that got particularly good receptions, the requests willfully ignored, but most of all, we repeat the stories.
How can doctors-in-training incorporate wisdom from spiritual traditions into the delivery of health care? Rembrandt, a second-year medical student in Chicago, shares his exploration of how lessons from Christianity offer him insight into life’s big questions that arise in medicine.
“Look, you’re not out on a four-year picnic at that medical school, so stop talking like a disappointed lover. You signed up for a spell of training and they’re dishing it out to you, and all you can do is take everything they’ve got, everything they hand to you, and tell yourself how lucky you are to be on the receiving end — so you can be a doctor, and that’s no bad price to pay for the worry, the exhaustion.”
How can doctors-in-training practice not just patient-centered, but family-centered medicine? Carissa, a graduating fourth-year medical student in Indianapolis intending to pursue an obstetrics and gynecology residency, shares the lessons she learned as a medical student when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
How can doctors-in-training effectively voice doubt and dissent in the medical school environment? Joji, a fourth-year medical student who plans to go into family medicine, describes the conflicts he has had with his school’s administration, and what it feels like to live in fear of dismissal.
How can doctors-in-training honor the experiences of patients’ family members? Tarik, a fourth-year medical student, shares the lessons she learned from an Egyptian man who served as the primary caregiver for his wife, who had advanced multiple sclerosis.
How can doctors-in-training build relationships with patients despite language barriers? Chelsea, a fourth-year medical student who will soon begin family medicine residency training in Boston, recalls the lessons she learned about the power of nonverbal communication from a patient she met while working in Rwanda.
How can doctors-in-training overcome feelings of inadequacy? Robert, a fourth-year medical student in Philadelphia hoping to become a pediatric dermatologist, discusses the benefits of exposing his vulnerabilities.
How can doctors-in-training foster intimate connections to keep their passion for medicine alive? Sara, a rising medical intern in physical medicine and rehabilitation, reflects on the community activities she engaged in during medical school that allowed joy and presence to be a central part of her educational experience.
How can doctors-in-training create balance in their lives and not let school define them? Jazmin, a fourth-year medical student in Galveston, Texas who intends to begin pediatric residency next year, discusses how important it was for her to not solely identify as a student during the four years of medical school. She also espouses the benefits of creating a family-like community at school.
How can doctors-in-training integrate policy change with patient care? Matt, a fourth-year medical student in Philadelphia deciding whether to pursue clinical medicine at all, shares his divergent path through medical school that involved taking two years off. He reflects how his work with the government on systemic health care issues and later in medical communications informed and reinvigorated his work on the wards.