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A Piece of My Mind
October 2, 2018

Nurturing Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1New England Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Care, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2018;320(13):1325. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.13766

As a third-year medical student I began to keep a vegetable garden. Digging in the yard was a stress reliever, a reprieve from memorizing diseases and pathways. I’d return home from the hospital and walk through the garden pulling weeds and watering plants, and then pour over books about seed saving, composting, and canning. I watched the plants grow, flower, fruit, wilt, and eventually die, repeating each year. Over time, the garden grew, incorporating more and more plants, and then drip irrigation, compost piles, and then chickens—their shells and droppings returning to the earth, helping the garden grow. I reasoned that I could take the same approach in school and residency and apply it to gardening. The more I know, the more I can do and the more I can control.

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