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What I Learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors [Paperback]

Joycelyn Elders , Kevin M. Takakuwa , Nick Rubashkin , Karen E. Herzig

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Book Description

Jan. 18 2006
Like many an exclusive club, the medical profession subjects its prospective members to rigorous indoctrination: medical students are overloaded with work, deprived of sleep and normal human contact, drilled and tested and scheduled down to the last minute. Difficult as the regimen may be, for those who don't fit the traditional mold—white, male, middle-to-upper class, and heterosexual—medical school can be that much more harrowing. This riveting book tells the tales of a new generation of medical students—students whose varied backgrounds are far from traditional. Their stories will forever alter the way we see tomorrow's doctors.

In these pages, a black teenage mother overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds, an observant Muslim dons the hijab during training, an alcoholic hides her addiction. We hear the stories of an Asian refugee, a Mexican immigrant, a closeted Christian, an oversized woman—these once unlikely students are among those who describe their medical school experiences with uncommon candor, giving a close-up look at the inflexible curriculum, the pervasive competitive culture, and the daunting obstacles that come with being "different" in medical school. Their tales of courage are by turns poignant, amusing, eye-opening—and altogether unforgettable.

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Review

"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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Honest, Must read for anyone considering medical school. Sept. 4 2007
By S. S. Mahmood - Published on Amazon.com
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Not too shabby. Feb. 8 2008
By Tony J. Ammirati - Published on Amazon.com
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
5.0 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 Amazon.com
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
4.0 out of 5 stars What I Learned In Medical School July 13 2008
By M. P. Tanner - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I learned in Medical School: Personal Stories of Young Doctors Feb. 10 2008
By Cindy S. Calvo - Published on Amazon.com
I believe this was a great book. It was interesting and certain things they mention I can relate. My mentor let me borrow the book and it really motivated me to continue on the path of medicine.

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