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A Piece of My Mind
November 13, 2013

Removing the “Me” From “MD”

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2013;310(18):1943-1944. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.280722

As a second-year medical student, I was required to spend one half-day shadowing a hospital nurse. Walking into the nurses’ workroom, I noticed first how my short white coat stuck out among the sea of flower-print scrub tops.

Uniforms were one of many surprises that day. In those three hours, my supervising nurse counseled an asthmatic man on using an inhaler, taught a diabetic teenager how to count carbohydrates, and prepared a seriously ill woman for a central line insertion—tasks I had always assumed were performed by physicians. I left the hospital humbled by how little I knew of nurses’ day-to-day activities.