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December 15, 1989

The Generic H & P

JAMA. 1989;262(23):3338. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430230123039

8 AM—the end of another long call night and time for attending rounds. Your team awaits you.

"Gee, you look terrible. How many did you get last night?"

"Seven. Actually, eight if you count that ICU transfer. Not too bad."

Not too bad for an intern like you, but a killer call night for a lesser house officer. You know it and they know it—you're Chief Resident material.

You reach into your pocket for that stack of index cards, your notes from last night. Instead, you discover a Hemoccult card, some Kleenex, and a gum wrapper. No note cards. Your cheeks flush. Beads of sweat collect on your upper lip. You feel your esophagus twist like a rubber band in a model airplane. You spent most of last night learning the intricacies of your patients' lives and illnesses, but right now your mind's a blank. How can you honestly present