Needle exchanges are organizations that allow injection drug users to receive free or reduced cost hypodermic needles with no prescription. To the dissenters, the first word that comes to mind when discussing these programs is “enabling.” It is often hard to define the line between support and collusion, but the best way to do so is to look at the overall pros vs the cons.
While it is humbling and awe-inspiring to see this technological revolution unfold before our eyes, there are times when our ability to invent and to “do” outpaces the rate of debate (and conclusion) of moral quandaries. One of the biggest of such medical advances and controversies in the past decade involves genotyping and DNA editing.
For patients, actually being patient can be the most difficult part of receiving healthcare. For some, this ends in the waiting room, but others, unfortunately, anxiously await insurance approval, test results, surgery, transplants, and sometimes—even death. The list of things patients wait for is long, but in medicine, patients aren’t the only ones who need patience.
As medical students, we are torn: can we express political opinions? Will it affect my residency application? Will future patients see it and decide to seek out a second opinion with a physician who is opinion-less on political issues? We take an oath to be inclusive, to treat everyone equally regardless of race, gender or religion. How do we defend that oath but still remain neutral?
With the advent of the opioid epidemic, drug overdose has become the number one leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Additionally, substance addiction is associated with increased suicide risk and increased incidence of comorbidities. How can we help?
Before medical school, I frequently collaborated with a business partner in Germany. I often wondered how my German counterparts had a zest and vigor that my U.S. coworkers could not emulate. I do know my European colleagues were offered a very generous vacation package, and they weren’t afraid to use it.
The former high school teacher in me says there is room for improvement in medical school pedagogy. In fact, I have noticed some high-yield and easy-to-implement teaching “hacks” that would improve overall instructional practice and student understanding if they were consistently instituted by each professor during every lecture.
Designing and making with patients would flip the current dynamic of medical education, making us feel empowered to solve problems in healthcare even at this early stage in our career. Fueled by patient engagement and creativity, medical making could produce many dividends for the future of high-quality, patient-centered care.
Summer “break” has become a well-known critical time for students to strengthen and polish their applications to medical school. The question is: Is the competitiveness of medicine forcing more and more students to do internships that are unpaid, unproductive, and unhelpful just to check that last box on their resume?