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Keeping the Flame Alive

This month, at medical schools across the country, first-year students will officially don the physician’s traditional white coat for the first time.

The white-coat ceremony is a powerful symbolic moment. It signifies that the students are moving beyond their identity as ordinary citizens and into their new identity as healers. The ceremony celebrates their idealism and their commitment to a life of caring for others. And, although they may not realize this, it

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The Journey

My first day on the wards,
the senior resident handed me a white coat
emblazoned with the twin serpents of Asclepius,
and a stethoscope I proudly draped around my neck.
I thought I knew everything
about the dying patient assigned to me.

I listened studiously to John Doe’s lungs
filling rhythmically from a little machine
with a red diaphragm that pumped up and down

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laughter po prn

Slavena Salve Nissan ~

if you happened to pass by room 2
in a medical practice somewhere uptown
some time in the spring
you would’ve heard
laughter
a medical student and her patient
giggling like toddlers
right in the middle of the cranial nerve exam
what a thing to hear

if only i could write that prescription
laughter po prn
no copay required

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Water

Amulya Iyer ~

The professors,
they teach us
the types of diuretics,
their effects on the tubules–
convoluted or not.
They tell us to check
for pitting edema,
and grade it to see
how bad it has gotten.

But who teaches
the student
to kneel by the woman,
her legs swollen,
her heart failing in her chest–
to slip off

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Why Aren’t You Depressed?

Tess Timmes ~

“Please walk slowly,” cautioned Sunita, my interpreter, as I crept down the stony switchback trail towards the rural Nepali village of Dhulikhel. Sunita, in her petite navy ballet flats, hopped down the rocks as easily as the speckled goats grazing nearby.

Emboldened by her speed, I stepped along eagerly, only to catch my size-ten neon running sneaker on a root and splat face-first into the dust. Looking up, I saw

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med school lion

Medical School: The Never-Ending Fight or Flight

Andrea Hartford
About the artist:
Andrea Hartford is a third-year osteopathic medical student currently studying at AT Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. “Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I have always been encouraged by my family and others to raise the bar in my studies, which ultimately helped get me into medical school; it also pushed me to develop my appreciation of art, something that has helped keep me grounded

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Anatomy Lesson

 
“Okay, it is time to move on,” my professor claps his hands together and yells above the chatter. We all look up from our Netter’s anatomy books and our cadavers. The smell of formaldehyde burns my nose as the fluorescent lights flicker above.

“We have explored the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity. It is now time to move onto the extremities, starting with the arms. I want you to unwrap the arms and study

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An American Story

Sara H. Rahman

“Mr. Douglas?” I call out into the waiting room. A short, grey-haired man in his sixties staggers towards me, bracing his back with his hands. Despite his pain, he gives me a warm smile, which I return.

As I help him onto the exam-room table, he winces, squeezing my hand.

“I’m a medical student,” I begin. “If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to examine you before Dr. Smith sees

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Untitled (A Medical Student’s First Patient)

I was terrified the first day of lab. Terrified of the slice of a scalpel through human skin. And, most of all, terrified of how I would react to the shock of making that first cut. 

I did make that first cut and many more afterward. I didn’t pass out, and eventually my heart stopped pounding when I picked up the scalpel. As time went on, we learned an impossible amount about the way

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Occupational Empathy

 
On my first day shadowing an occupational therapist, I learned much more than I had anticipated.
 
We saw five patients that morning—with each one, the OT went through a series of exercises to test their strength and mobility. The first four visits were interesting, though uneventful, as the patients completed their exercises with varying degrees of success.
 
The last patient was a man with a history of alcoholism. He had a tube

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Paging Cardiology

Geoffrey Rubin

At 5:07 pm on July 27 of last year, my pager’s beep pierced the bustle of the hospital hallway: “CARDIAC ARREST, 6GS room 356 bed 2. Need cards STAT.”

It was only seven minutes into my first overnight call as a cardiology (“cards”) fellow, and I felt like I’d received a code-dose shot of epinephrine. In a most un-doctorly manner, I sprinted up the four flights of stairs to the ward.

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Seeing Patients for the First Time

 
I wish I could see his eyes, hidden beneath a pair of shades. A tweed cap, or as I like to think of it, the “grandpa cap,” covers his head. With his hands resting on a cane, he leans his back against the chair.
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