Friday, July 29, 2011

...and mentorship

Harvard MSIV, Nate Favini, did an excellent commentary on Dr. Pauline Chen’s NY Times article entitiled, “The Hidden Cost of Medical Student Debt”. Mr. Favini aptly added lack of economic diversity and personal motivation as key elements that affect medstudents’ desire to pursue primary care, in addition to debt. Both articles made strong cases and I suggest we add another to the list of factors contributing to med student interest in primary care -- mentorship.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I recently rediscovered some of my clinical rotation musings. Enjoy...


Since my last writing I've moved from no longer wanting to be a surgeon to falling in love with pediatrics. I often wonder to what extent students' specialty decisions are influenced by their rotation experience. My pediatric experience was phenomenal. The most organized rotation I have seen yet. But more than the syllabus and organization of the rotation, were the people. For the first time, I saw myself in these attendings and residents. I saw qualities that are dear to me being reflected in these individuals -- advocacy, service, compassion. I saw an environment where residents and attendings shared mutual respect, not chilling fear or measured disdain. The atmosphere was one where I was always excited to be there, where I welcomed the challenge. Had I done my rotation elsewhere, would I have felt the same way about pediatrics?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I’ve heard patients say, “How could she smoke and she’s a doctor?” Alarmed and bewildered by the fact that an agent of health could partake in one of the most harmful acts of bodily destruction. In medical school, a sizable number of my classmates smoked and I always found it so counter-intuitive, mind-boggling that they would be learning about smoker’s lung in pathology and on class breaks would huddled outside the lecture hall sucking on their cancer sticks. These same colleagues would then be encouraged to exhort smoking cessation in our clinical skills session while we all sit, simulated patient included, in a room rife with the heaviness of second hand smoke. One would assume that there should be a direct correlation between knowledge on a topic and healthy decision-making but we know all too well that that is not the case. As Thomas Goetz states, fear of illness is not sustainable motivator for positive change in health behavior and that is true even if you’re a physician. It has certainly been true of me.