My final reflections as I graduate from medical school on fear, courage, and doing right by patients.
In just under two months, I will be making two big transitions as I begin life as a resident. The first and obvious change is from student to doctor.
The patient was hacking sputum into a tissue when the resident and I entered his room. "How long have you had that cough?" "Oh this? As long as I can remember." "But it's been worse lately?" "Yeah." "Worse how?" "More stuff coming out each time.
"Stick to your guns." "Put your nickel down." "Stand your ground." If you're a medical student, there is an excellent chance you have heard one of these in the course of your training.
Last year, I was honored to receive an invitation to address the Medical Student Section of the American Medical Association (AMA) on writing about medicine.
I was glad she never asked if I had done this before. My first nasogastric tube was placed on an elderly woman with chronic liver disease. As her illness worsened, it gradually turned her skin yellow, her abdomen swollen, and her mind foggy.
The life cycle of a medical advance usually goes something like this: from discovery at the research bench and replication of findings, to translational research and clinical trials, to implementation.
He was known to the hospital as someone who would try to manipulate his caregivers. And I fell for it anyway. Frequently admitted for pain crises associated with a chronic illness, he spent most of his hospital course avoiding eye contact with the team.
“You wanna talk? Let’s talk.” The 42-year-old man sits up straighter in the hospital bed and grins a toothless grin.
"So, is this the sickest list you've ever had?" the resident asked me at 2 AM, after I finally finished checking off all my boxes for the night.
STAFFBehind the scenes at Scientific AmericanRead
Anecdotes from the Archive
Anthropology in Practice
Exploring the human condition.Read
Insights into intelligence, creativity, and the mindRead
Everything you always wanted to know about raising science-literate kidsRead
Critical views of science in the newsRead
Dark Star Diaries
Explore the science behind the dog in your bedRead
News and research about endangered species from around the worldRead
Frontiers for Young Minds
Science by and for kids ages 8-15Read
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific AmericanRead
Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday DeceptionsRead
Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiologyRead
MIND Guest Blog
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific American MindRead
Not bad science
New discoveries in animal behavior and cognitionRead
STAFFOpinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific AmericanRead
More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our livesRead
Roots of Unity
Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.Read
Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.Read
STAFFIllustrating science since 1845Read
The art of science and the science of art.Read
STAFFA science blog, sans blagueRead
Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - living and extinctRead
The Artful Amoeba
A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on EarthRead
The Urban Scientist
A hip hop maven blogs on urban ecology, evolutionary biology & diversity in the sciencesRead
Exploring and celebrating diversity in science.Read