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What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors Paperback – Jan 18 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (Jan. 18 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520246810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520246812
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 1.5 x 22.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,016,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"With so many physicians cynical about their profession, grumbling about how health maintenance organisations (HMOs) and residency regulations have ruined the party . . . this book can serve only to inspire. Whether for crotchety doctors, patients frightened by the anonymity of medicine, educators planning for the next generation of students, or lay people wondering just who will be sitting behind the next stethoscope that approaches them, What I Learned in Medical School provides a healthy dose of optimism."--Danielle Ofri, "The Lancet"

From the Inside Flap

"A heartfelt, sincere, and broad-ranging collection of voices from the depths of struggle in medical education. You will find here doubts, anger, surprise, sometimes naivete—and you will also find hope."—Atul Gawande, M.D., author of Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science

"This vibrant collection celebrates the diversity of medical trainees' experiences and brings to the forefront voices too often marginalized in medicine. Testament to the changing face of the profession, this volume reminds both healers and patients that medicine's strengths arise from the rich variety of its practitioners."—Sayantani DasGupta, MD, MPH, author of Her Own Medicine: A Woman's Journey from Student to Doctor

"The book has tremendous educational value and could be used as a catalyst for change."—Maureen S. O'Leary, MBA, RN, Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association

"In these beautifully written and deeply honest essays, medical students share a commitment to humanity that heals the wounds of isolation and reveals the power of diversity in the service of life. What I Learned in Medical School is a special book. Read it. It will make you proud to know your doctor."—Rachel Naomi Remen, author ofKitchen Table Wisdom

"An intriguing collection of strong and varied voices from the next generation of doctors. The narratives in this book challenge our assumptions about medical education and what makes a good physician, while reminding us, by their power, variety, and sincerity, of the many different roads that can be followed into medicine. The reader comes away with an appreciation for the richness and complexity that broadening the traditional profile of medicine and doctors brings to the profession and its practices."—Perri Klass, MD, author of A Not Entirely Benign Procedure: Four Years as a Medical Student

"This wonderful, thoughtful, and sometimes bitterly humorous collection of personal stories from medical students details what the medical practitioners of the future think about the medical establishment and its brutal educational program. The process of becoming an MD alienates many but builds a shared belief that struggle builds strength for a rewarding professional future. Doctors and patients alike will find reading about these journeys a fascinating experience."—Frances K. Conley, M.D., author of Walking Out on the Boys and Professor Emerita of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f1bb45c) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4d5aa18) out of 5 stars Insightful and Honest, Must read for anyone considering medical school. Sept. 4 2007
By S. S. Mahmood - Published on
Not just for minorities or those who have faced hardships on the road to becoming a doctor, this book paints a very realistic and (often) terrifying tales of students' worst experiences in medical school.

While it may seem intuitive that medical school is easier if you have financial support as well as a healthy personal and family life, not all of us are so lucky. This is a collection of stories from those who have found themselves in an unlucky position at one time or another. While most of them faced prejudices, the culture at medical schools has become more accepting; however, many challenges still remain. The most important part of the book is towards the end where a list of problems plaguing our medical school is outlined in a concise, clear manner. These issues are important whatever your race, creed or gender.

The face of healthcare is changing and our medical schools must change with it. The obstacles created by academic beaurocracy and an unforgiving system apply to all of us. I would heavily recommend this to anyone apply for or already in medical school.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0401b0) out of 5 stars Not too shabby. Feb. 8 2008
By Tony J. Ammirati - Published on
Verified Purchase
Not the best book I have read of this type, but interesting. Some of the writers come across as a little too self-involved (woe is me stories are not my favorite) and I skipped the poetry sections. Keven Takakuma's story made the whole purchase worth while, in my opinion.
I imagine if you are a minority going into med school, you could relate very well to the stories of the struggles and concerns of these students.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0405e8) out of 5 stars Excellent essays, but don't buy it to learn about how it will be in med school March 24 2010
By C. Fox - Published on
Verified Purchase
I liked the format of the book. Discrete essays that allowed you to pick up the book whenever you had 5 or 10 minutes to read. Inspiring stories. Light-hearted. However, I bought the book to read about the experiences physicians had in medical school and what they learned there. I was looking for a "heads up." If you are looking for a "heads up" about medical school, do NOT buy this book. If you want to read some personal essays that are thoughtful and you like to read something light before bed, buy the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f0405b8) out of 5 stars What I Learned In Medical School July 13 2008
By M. P. Tanner - Published on
A collection of touching and unforgettable true-life stories of a group of diverse individuals in pursuit of a career in medicine. Some of the stories are so intense that they leave you wanting more and wondering whether these people finally achieved their goals. This book proves that you can get accepted to medical school regardless of your ethnicity, religion, income, social status or sexual orientation.
HASH(0x9f040630) out of 5 stars Short book review March 13 2015
By nohemi - Published on
What I learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors

The memoir What I learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors is a collection of anecdotes of medical student’s experience while enduring the harsh, unforgettable journey of medical school. It’s a collection “in which non stereotypical medical students” share the struggles that are not usually spoken of (San Jose Mercury News). The book is organized, with relatable stories that are varied in content. All these qualities make the memoir collectively good and keeps the reader engaged.
When I started reading into this memoir, I noticed how the organization was impeccable. This is something I look into when reading books, they always have to be organized in a way that makes sense. There is a forward that is written by the editors that put together these stories and it explains the motives for this project. The book itself is divided into three parts where the stories are connected. There is “Life and Family Histories”, these are the stories of the person’s life leading up to medical school. This is where I found the most interesting stories. They are inspiring because you can see that doctor’s in the modern age do not have to come from prestigious families. These people are immigrants, teen mothers, poor and even suffer from OCD. Even though all the stories are different in plot, they are connected by the theme of how it was growing up and the struggles that were faced to get into medical school. The second part is “Shifting Identities” where the stories speak of shifts that occur in your person while in medical school this “includes stories about the changes that occur - and the responses they evoke - during the socialization process in the world of medicine”(Takakuwa,Rubashkin,Herzig, pg. xix). This section as the last is also different and unique with varied anecdotes, yet they all speak of the shift’s that students have in this period. The last part is titled “Confronted”, since the purpose of this memoir was to share the stories of non-traditional students and minorities, this last chapter shares the repercussions faced because of being a non-traditional medical student such as a native american and a lesbian medical student. The organization and pattern in the different sections of this memoir made it easier to follow, unlike The House on Mango Street, where all the chapters skipped around different times and situations. Organization is definitely a quality I look for in any piece of writing that I read.
Keeping organization keeps the reader on the loop and engaged in the book. This memoir did a good job in keeping me focused. The short stories were long enough to have great content, but still were kept short to not lose the readers interest. Of course, one might argue that not every single story is captivating, and they are right, but the overall collection is. The reader has the power to skip a chapter or two if they choose to do so since the stories themselves do not tie into one another. The anecdotes are very engaging, especially since you can relate on a personal level , this makes me more intrigued and keeps me hooked. Collectively, these stories kept me reading and connected to me.
The collection put together by these students was a brilliant idea. The organization, relatable stories and engaging content are able to relate them to yourself, as was my case.
Another reason why I may have enjoyed this book as much as I did was because it was relatable to me. It is even inspiring in a way. There are many people who are discouraged from pursuing a career as a doctor. Many will be able to relate to the stories of these non-traditional medical students and see themselves in one of them. “It is an intriguing collection of strong and varied voices” making every one of the stories unique (Perri Klass,M.D., review). These people are not writers, but they each have a story that they are eager to share because these are things that no one knows about. They want to inspire those who think they are alone in being a minority or first generation to go to college, or medical school. The ability of all these stories to be so varied and honest makes them connect to so many people. The varying content made it a book that kept me interested. There were so many different opinions since there were different authors, but that may be a positive thing since the different styles may appeal to all sorts of different people. This worth is worthwhile, especially if you are interested in going to medical school so you are aware of others experiences and you don’t get discouraged if you feel like you aren't capable of doing it.