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Poetry and Medicine
March 27, 2013

Virtual White Coat

Author Affiliations

Poetry and Medicine Section Editor: Charlene Breedlove, Associate Editor. Poems may be submitted to jamapoems@jamanetwork.org.

Author Affiliation: Medical Faculty Associates, George Washington University, Washington, DC (apossner@mfa.gwu.edu).

JAMA. 2013;309(12):1206. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.71220

From top to bottom, intro to the end,
  a note is your white coat, let us pretend.
The content is the cloth, low grade or fine,
  each word is a stitch, meaning intertwined.
Bullet points are buttons, spread in a row,
  fabric of thought, differential in tow.
Sections are pockets, varying in size,
  each one separate, unique for what's inside.
The length is the length, the amount that's said,
  a rambling sentence, a loose dangling thread.
Poor grammar a crease, poor spelling a stain,
  other doctors do notice, in the main.
Which is why I say, to those I attend—
  to my students, future of medicine:
More than just a document, words you wrote,
  your note is you, your virtual white coat.

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