Explore JAMA’s A Piece of My Mind essays, real-life stories from physicians about the joys and challenges of practicing medicine in the modern era.
In this narrative medicine essay, a level-one trauma nurse compares Arizona’s 2 seasons with the waning and the waxing of patient admissions and with the cycle of grief for loss of her mother and son, realizing how much their deaths have affected her nursing.
In this narrative medicine essay, a primary care physician describes his patient’s struggle with obesity, sees himself in his patient, and wonders if his own struggles with weight loss impede his patient’s efforts to lose weight.
In this narrative medicine essay, a family physician shares the beginning and ending of a near 12-year journey with a patient, helping him reach sobriety that led to a full though short life and feeling humbled to have been so entrusted to travel with him.
In this narrative medicine essay, a psychologist peels back the layers of her reticence and comes to terms with working with transgender patients as a member of LGBT community.
In this narrative medicine essay, a primary care physician describes a drawing by a 7-year-old patient who is sitting on an examination table with her mother cradling her baby sister with the physician’s back to them entering data in the computer as an example of a system that is sacrificing human contact for electronics.
In this narrative medicine essay, Donald M. Berwick shares the story of his patient Isaiah with the 2012 Harvard Medical School graduating class as an example of a patient who deserved the treatment that cured him of leukemia but whose life was lost to poverty and exhorts them to regard health care as human right that must be preserved in the clinic and in public.
In this narrative medicine essay, a resident physician recalls the joy she felt while learning the formal language of medicine as a student and anticipates the lifelong joy of learning to interpret that language in ways most helpful for her patients.
In this narrative medicine essay, an attending physician shares his observations of how the changing nature of electronic medical record (EMR) hospital progress notes—often entered out of sequence and becoming ever longer and more unreadable—can hamper interacting with patients and providing patient care.
In this narrative medicine essay, the sister of a young man with Gardner syndrome reflects on the care her brother received over his nearly three decades of life and offers her observations on several things physicians and other members of health care teams can do to achieve true patient-centered care.
In this narrative medicine essay, a group of physicians from an academic program in bedside medicine offer their observations on deficiencies in the assessment of US medical residents’ clinical skills and suggest principles for enhancing the teaching and high-stakes assessment of these skills to improve diagnostic accuracy and achieve truly patient-centered care.
In this narrative medicine essay, a physician reflects on the rise of professional boundaries; on the ways in which such boundaries can in some instances foster uncaring patient-physician relationships; and on ways physicians might balance providing objective medical care and addressing social and economic injustices in the lives of their patients.
In this narrative medicine essay, a physician shares his thoughts about how the phrase “there is no evidence to suggest,” commonly used in the medical literature, can lead to false inferences and suppression of clinical intuition, and suggests four alternative phrases for clarifying inferences and improving shared decision-making.
In this narrative medicine essay, an emergency medicine physician recalls an encounter early in her career when she was asked by parents to make a recommendation regarding ending life support for a young child, reflects on the way practice has changed from physician-centric to patient-involved decision-making, and discusses how her husband’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis brought up a different perspective.
In this narrative medicine essay, a medical student reflects on individualized teaching practices in medicine, such as “the Socratic method,” in the context of her intervening course work related to a PhD in ancient history.
In this narrative medicine essay, a physician reflects on his father’s experience, at the age of 85 years, of getting a physical examination from a new primary care physician that ended up setting off a cascade of examinations and treatments.
In this narrative medicine essay, an African American physician reflects on her experience one day with a white member of her ward team made up of two interns, three medical students, and a senior resident that sparked cultural and racial discussions throughout their month together that usually do not occur in such a diverse group.
In this narrative medicine essay, a physician reflects on an experience during his medical residency involving the family dynamics of a couple in an effort to treat the pain of the husband.
In this narrative medicine essay, an attending physician reflects on the evolution of the role of the attending physician from a supervisor in the background to a micromanaging supervisor to ensure that the proper steps are followed to meet the quality metrics in place in the current health system.
In this narrative medicine essay, a medical student reflects on the ways in which she has seen racism and implicit bias affect clinical practice and emphasizes the importance of examining and challenging these biases to address health inequalities.
In this narrative medicine essay, a physician recounts an error in which his patient received double the dose of a medication he prescribed, and what he learned from asking the patient for forgiveness.
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