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'So You Want to Be a Doctor?': The Realities of Pursuing Medicine as a Career

Carlotta M. Rinke, MD
JAMA. 1982;247(18):2601. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320430095051.
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In this survival manual for would-be physicians, Dr Bluestone ambitiously endeavors to trace the conflicts medical students encounter during their journey through the pre-medical years into the house staff apprenticeship. She first identifies the major tasks and conflicts at the various levels of medical education, then examines the overwhelming emotional reactions they unmask.

In explicating the pressures and powerful philosophical issues medical students must integrate on both a professional and personal level, the author sets forth on a noble task. She recognizes the need to alert students that they will have to cope with feelings provoked by material that in some cases has stimulated philosophical genius: death, illness, interacting with patients and families, exploring oneself and the true motivations for pursuing medicine, tolerating the limbo between the infantilization of medical education and aspirations of professional maturity, and the self-organization necessary to succeed. Bluestone obviously recognizes the need to survive the


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