Top 24 Things A Medical Student Must Know

The Top Twenty – no, wait – Top Twenty-Two – Are You Sure It’s Twenty-Two? No. The Top Twenty-Four Things an Obsessive Medical Student Must Know (but which won’t show up in an exam so you can relax and put the highlighter down and get yourself a Diet Coke)
You don’t need to know the Krebs Cycle to lead a fulfilling life, or to treat 99.9% of your patients.
If you use more than one color of highlighter, you are a tool.
Don’t complain about the first two years of stupefying memorization. Two more years of stupefying medical procedures will follow.
The bell curve is real except in your children’s school district where every child is above average.
The horror of a liberal education is the recognition that stereotypes are real. Try to see beyond them, when appropriate.
Patients forget, minimize, exaggerate and lie. They also tell the truth.
Listen very carefully, and never believe a word they say. Appreciation of this paradox will make you a better doctor.
Poor people aren’t phonies. The people who claim to speak for them are another matter.
A good nurse is a godsend. If the nurses hate you, you will not sleep during residency.
Do not try to save the world. You will end up hating those you are supposed to help.
Acknowledge your prejudices. They may be based in reality. Think twice before acting on them.
The prestige of your undergraduate institution might mean something on a resumé; nobody cares where you went to medical school.
Do your residency where you plan to live. If you are any good at all, someone will invite you to join their practice.
Here’s an old one: What do they call the person who graduates last in his medical school class? Answer: Doctor.
It’s probably better to find the right combination of money and specialty that suits both your appetite and interest. Money is meager porridge if you’re a dermatologist who is revulsed by scaly skin.
If a patient calls and wants to speak with you, call them back. Really. In the long run, it’s worth it.
The average doctor will get sued during the course of a career. That’s America.
Most doctors exaggerate their risk of being sued. The best defenses against a lawsuit are the practice of good medicine, and the cultivation of good relationships with your patients.
If you attempt to avoid all risk for fear of being sued, then you are all but useless as a doctor.
You will make mistakes. The good thing is it’s difficult to kill someone.
You will be a better doctor if you assume no one takes the medication you prescribe.
Exercise is a better antidepressant than antidepressant medication.
Any patient can now go online and make himself more of an expert in a matter than you. Use that to your advantage. Ask the patient to tell you what he learned.
Medicine can be a rewarding and remunerative profession – once you are out of training. Don’t complain too much.
Rusty Reeves MD, is the author of Chump, a satirical and highly un-PC novel about race and class relations in medical school.