True stories of transitioning from medical school classrooms to the realities of the hospital: “Moving, eloquent, and often unforgettable” (Atul Gawande, MD).
After years of practice, doctors can sometimes seem aloof, uncaring, and hurried. What goes on in their minds? Were they always like that, or has their work changed them? And how do some physicians manage to retain their warmth and humanity over the course of a long career?
This “thoughtful and illuminating” book takes us into the day-to-day lives of third-year medical students at an Ivy League school—just starting out in their profession and dealing with patients face-to-face for the first time (Publishers Weekly). In their own words, more than forty of them reveal what it’s really like to enter this field, having their principles of scientific rigor and idealism tested as they cope with real people and real crises in real time.
This doctor’s-eye-view of the dramas—and occasional comedies—of the world of health care offers fascinating insights about clinical medicine and a behind-the-scenes look at a job that can range from repetitive routines to life-and-death decisions at any given moment. These stories “offer a unique vantage on illness, life, and struggle—capturing in vivid glimpses that crucial moment in a doctor’s life when one transitions from outsider to insider” (Atul Gawande, MD, New York Times–bestselling author of Being Mortal).
“Thoughtful and illuminating.” —Publishers Weekly
As Groopman states in his foreword, "each interaction between a doctor and a patient is a story." The moving stories of 44 doctors-in-training collected by two M.D.s (Pories and Harper) and one medical student (Jain), all at Harvard, are accounts written by medical students. Their tales convey lessons both emotional and medical, from learning how to communicate and empathize with those afflicted by illness to ways to ease suffering and loss. In one heartrending incident, David Y. Hwang describes a marine's rage followed by tears on hearing that his wife was going to die, while the wife herself remains in calm denial. Rajesh G. Shah explores how he learned from his first patient to overcome his judgmental attitude about those so beset by anxiety they cannot function without medication. In a particularly self-revelatory (and anonymous) piece, a student describes the endless hazing experience at the hands of interns and residents and the student's need to constantly manage a sense of insecurity. These are thoughtful and illuminating accounts of beginning physicians under stress, growing and changing as they progress through their chosen field.