VA Residents Reflect on Medicine

For sale, baby shoes, never worn.

Residents write pages of text about patients everyday. Not unlike Herodotus, they write notes called “Histories” but unfortunately they are not as thorough. We write to record but we do not write to reflect or process.


The above quote is attributed to Hemingway (although it is unclear if he actually penned it) and is the prototypical Six Word Story. So much meaning and emotion can be eked out of a paltry six words.

Today Team 2 led a phenomenal noon report on reflection and writing. Medicine is filled with the some of the most touching moments and entertaining moments in daily life, but we often miss those moments because we are so busy. Today we took an hour to write and share six-word stories which we expanded to 55-word stories:


“Holding pressure, recounting stories, relieving pressure”

This is a story about the age old tradition of intern’s holding pressure after devices are taken out, but it is one of the few moments when you have fifteen unperturbed minutes with a patient. Fifteen minutes to get to know them, talk to them, let them talk and “relieve pressure” the pressure of being in the hospital.

Anyone that has worked with a Vocera will sympathize with:

“Hello, can I say a name?”


The session led to a great discussion and reflections on the end of intern year and the end of residency. Eating the lunch, our attending, in all their wisdom, added:

“A free lunch? No such thing.”