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A Piece of My Mind
September 1, 2004


JAMA. 2004;292(9):1017-1018. doi:10.1001/jama.292.9.1017

Occasionally you might try to sneak out between patients to survey the waiting room. Clinic day is never pleasant for the surgical intern, and you always hope that maybe no one else will show up. Maybe there's a blizzard and everyone decides it's just too dangerous to go outside. Usually not, though, and you peek through the Staff Only door around the corner from the physicians' restroom and the free coffee and count the afternoon's lineup. Every hour or so you may reassess the arrangement of comfortable patients in their cushioned chairs. Eighteen more. Twelve. Seven, then home. Clinic isn't unbearable, but it only resembles what you think of when you think of medicine and try to remember why you wanted to become a physician in the first place. There is no real detective work, no mystery. Almost everyone comes referred with CT scans and full workups and diagnoses already assigned by their primary physician. There's barely any examination to do and you almost always know exactly what the story is from the chart on the door: Patient referred by primary physician for (fill in diagnosis) requiring surgery.

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