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A Piece of My Mind
May 27, 1998

The Ungifted Physician

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(20):1607. doi:10.1001/jama.279.20.1607

My father and I often marvel at how much medical practice changed in the four decades between the end of his orthopedic surgery training and the end of my internal medicine residency. In 1950 he started as a solo practitioner. In 1990 I joined a group of 13. He had a secretary who dressed in nurses' whites and served him lunch at his desk. I have a secretary who wears what she likes (and, OK, surprises me with a candy bar on days she triple-books my schedule) but also an office manager, a business manager, and a managed care manager. And unlike me, my father, I reflected recently as I finally took down the holiday cards lining my office bookshelf, often received gifts from his patients.

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