1. You cannot make up the stories patients tell you.
2. You should not share these stories with your non-medical friends.
3. Read about your patients.
4. Keep a notebook (paper or digital) of clinical questions that you see each day.
5. Spend 30-60 minutes reading about those notebook entries each day (reading reinforces the discussion from rounds).
6. Remember that your patients benefit from your caring.
7. Sit down, talk to your patients, touch them in an appropriate manner (I favor wrist pulse). They benefit and you learn more.
8. Ask questions when you do not understand something.
9. Take care of your personal health. Exercise, eat relatively intelligently, sleep enough.
10. Realize that medicine is a team sport. Be a good team member.
11. Discover who you are in medicine.
12. Remember that medicine is all about the patients, not us.
db is the nickname for Robert M. Centor, MD, FACP. db stands both for Dr. Bob and da boss. He is an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and is the Regional Associate Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of UASOM. He still makes inpatient rounds over 100 days each year. This post originally appeared at his blog, db's Medical Rants.