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March 13, 1981

A Father's Letter to a New Intern

Author Affiliations

From the Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, Patchogue, NY.

JAMA. 1981;245(10):1031. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310350019014

Dear Dave,

Your mother and I are very glad to know that you are now settled in and enjoying your work. I can understand why you have lost weight. At least your 100-hour week will give you a maximal clinical exposure and will be good training for you when you get out into practice. It's what medicine is made of.

Are you talking at your patients or are you letting them talk to you? Difficult, isn't it, to give them all the time they need, difficult when your training has been to be dynamic, to do, to produce, rather than to adopt a passive role? Please do not try bluff heartiness as a substitute for genuine concern, although we all do so at times. It is difficult to sit and listen but it works. If you ask questions that demand little more than "yes" or "no" as an answer, you