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A Piece of My Mind
October 18, 2016

The Face That Thinks

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
JAMA. 2016;316(15):1547-1548. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.8438

During my second year of residency, I was confident in my presentation skills. I had a routine before presenting new patients. Just before morning rounds, I printed out all of my notes and highlighted the important features of the patient’s history, my examination findings, and my assessment and plan. I folded each note long-ways for easy retrieval from my coat pocket, and when it came time to present, I pulled out my papers and recited, nearly word-for-word, what I had typed out earlier. If I could read directly from my neatly folded papers, the chances of fumbling information were reduced. I thought this made rounding easier for the team: it kept rounds moving. There was no second-guessing information, because it was all right there, typed out nicely on a crisp, white sheet of paper, in 10-point Times New Roman font. And if we needed additional data, someone had a computer on wheels handy, ready to retrieve information. I was convinced my routine was benefiting me as much as it was my team.

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