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Heeding the Plea To Deal with Resident Stress

Jordan J. Cohen, MD
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Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC 20037-1126

Requests for Single Reprints: Jordan Cohen, MD, Association of American Medical Colleges, 2450 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037; e-mail, jjcohen@aamc.org.

Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(5):394-395. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-5-200203050-00013
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In the old days—let's say 30 or 40 years ago—concerns about the well-being of medical residents centered on such issues as adequate parking spaces, midnight snacks, and off-hours access to the library. The pace of life was a lot slower, and the stresses were a lot more manageable. This is not to say that a resident's life was “a piece of cake” back then. We all worked long hours, routinely spent every other night and every other weekend in the hospital, had precious little time for “leisure activities,” were paid next to nothing, and worried a lot about money. But, as I recall, we were a pretty happy lot. The feeling of camaraderie was intense, the light at the end of the tunnel was clearly visible, and we were totally caught up in the excitement of caring for our own patients and learning how to be good physicians. On balance, the hardships were more than offset by the satisfactions.

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