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A Piece of My Mind
February 20, 2013

Remarkably Wise

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis (Dr Olson; olso5714@umn.edu); Medical Service, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Dr Tierney); and Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Tierney).

JAMA. 2013;309(7):669-670. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.196

There is no more difficult art to acquire than the art of observation, and for some men it is quite as difficult to record an observation in brief and plain language.—Sir William Osler

As one walks through the brightly lit, drably painted corridors of a typical US teaching hospital around 10 o’clock in the morning on any day of the week, any week of the year, one finds himself or herself tossed about in a tumultuous sea of the English language. Most buffeting winds come from senior residents, droning from within their white coats as they present cases to senior physicians:

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