Sharing personal experiences of giving and receiving health care

A Beginner’s Touch

My husband George got to know Ruthie while he was sitting with his mom during her final days in an assisted-living facility. Ruthie, a hospice worker, was a middle-aged woman who had reentered the workforce after raising her kids. As a nursing-assistant trainee, she was learning on the job, with George’s mom, unconscious and steadily declining, as one of her first patients.

Soon after meeting Ruthie, George was struck by her lack of self-confidence.

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Angel of Healing

A small wooden figure watches over my office. Four inches tall, hand-carved, neatly painted wood—an angel figurine with golden hair, majestic wings and a simple pure-white gown. Throughout my day seeing patients as an internal medicine and pediatrics resident, this angel watches over me—a constant reminder.

Two years ago, as a fourth-year medical student, I was on my internal medicine “acting internship” on the general internal medicine floor. This service was known for great teaching and complex cases—and notorious for emotionally heavy experiences.

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After the Fall

It is a chilly January night, a week after New Year’s and a few days after my twenty-fourth birthday. I’m halfway through my third year of medical school and have just started my clerkship on the hospital’s trauma unit.

I’ve been dreading this experience; I’m on twenty-four-hour call, and my heart sinks every time the pager goes off.

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More Voices

Every month readers tell their stories — in 40 to 400 words — on a different healthcare theme.

Eating
Eating

December 2021

Gratitude
Gratitude

November 2021

Code Red Our Changing Climate
Code Red: Our Changing Climate

October 2021

New Voices

Stories by those whose faces and perspectives are underrepresented in media and in the health professions.

Red Ship

Editor’s Note: As New Voices’ first editor, I am thrilled to launch Pulse’s newest feature with this story by Livja Koka, depicting, among other things, the difficult choices that parents make in hopes of giving their children a better future. This story, we hope, is only the first of many accounts by writers whose voices and experiences have often gone unseen and unheard. If you have such a story to tell, we hope you’ll consider submitting it to New Voices. — Olapeju Simoyan

Every family has things they do not discuss. The emotions are too real,

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A New Pulse Feature: New Voices

Dear Pulse readers,
I have exciting news to share.
Events of the recent past have prompted national soul-searching about the impact of racism and other systemic and unconscious biases upon ourselves, our society and our global community. We at Pulse have always invited minority viewpoints, but we know that there’s more to be done–like making that invitation more clear and consistent, and making sure that our staff reflects our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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Gratitude

When was the last time I combed my hair?
Before the ambulance, even longer

when the plate shattered
and he cleaned it up without speaking.

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You Are Made of Grace

What beauty the world holds cupped between
light and dark,
everything mortal,
rising with the sun, the grass bright with the shine of rain.

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Microcalcifications

A cluster, I say,
so small – see? I can cover it
with the tip of my finger. Tiny little
calcifications. I show
you the mammogram.

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