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On Being a Doctor |

The Job Only a Medical Student Could Do: Have a Smoke, on Me

Conor Hagen
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 55455.

Acknowledgment: The author acknowledges Therese Zink, MD, MPH, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, who helped edit this article.

Requests for Single Reprints: Therese Zink, MD, MPH, Department of Family and Community Health, University of Minnesota, MMC 81, Minneapolis, MN; e-mail, zink0003@umn.edu.

Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(8):533-534. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-152-8-201004200-00013
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Deanna's collar was frayed, her shoes scuffed, but her clothes were clean. Her smoker's cough was hard to ignore, and she didn't hear too well. Her blonde hair was thin and unkempt, and her facial expression was vacant. Judging by her slow, calculated steps, she had arthritis in her hips. These were my initial impressions when I met Deanna (not her real name) on my internal medicine rotation as a third-year medical student. When I first saw her, she was conversing with the nurses just fine; she knew her name, where she was, and the year. But as I talked to her, I noticed the profound chasm between the present and her memory.





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