Why No Job Can Ever Be Perfect

Photo: totalAldo

I love what I do. Being a doctor challenges me every day to think critically and creatively, to learn new things, and to make the vast machine that is the American medical system run smoothly. The relationships I’ve formed provide me great power to do good: my patients trust me like no […]

Everyone Is Rational

Photo: robertdx

Clark (not his real name) came to see me complaining of substernal chest pain. At first, he said, it had come on only with exertion, but in the last two weeks it had begun to bother him at rest. It radiated to his jaw and was associated with some mild nausea and […]


Photo: Patrick Pappi Pearse

In the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, the main character, Siddhartha, tells Kamala, a beautiful courtesan: “From the moment I made [the resolution to learn about love from the most beautiful woman] I also knew that I would execute it…when you throw a stone into the water, it finds the […]

How To Give And Receive Feedback

Photo: said&done

My student’s voice trembled as she answered my question. “How do you think you’ve done so far?” I’d asked her. We’d been together on the general medicine inpatient ward for two weeks—the midpoint of the rotation—and as was my usual custom I was giving her feedback on her performance by first asking […]

What Makes A True Friend

Photo: ElektraCute

The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means “family.” The connotation suggests a bond between people who’ve made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.