Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School / Edition 1

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"A valuable contribution to the growing literature of medical culture."—Gerald Weissman, New York Univ. Medical Center.

"...'the most important book on medical education in 60 years' - Ashley Montague"

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an arresting and candid commentary on the medical profession, Konner, a maverick, nonpracticing member and chairman of Emory University's department of anthropology, recounts his medical school training, especially the crucial first clinical immersion during the third year. The then 35-year-old medical studentwho was also a husband and father, anthropologist and educatornoted that medical schools are hard-pressed to include in their curricula the many recent technological and medical advances; that they emphasize memorization, routine and conformity over independent judgment. Konner further charges that doctors treat symptoms, ignoring preventive measures and behavioral modification. In his impassioned criticism of how doctors are trained, he nonetheless notes, ``If I had it to do over again, I suppose I would still do it''; yet, ``I would not want my daughter or son to be a doctor or to marry one.'' Konner remains decidedly unoptimistic that the healing profession will be altered radically despite recent reappraisals, concluding with dispirit, ``plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose.'' 20,000 first printing. August 4
Library Journal
The author started medical school in his mid-30s, having already established himself as a researcher and professor of anthropology. He focuses on the third year of medical school, for that is when the aspiring physician gets his or her first extensive exposure to patients. Highly critical of medical education and practice, particularly the fostering of detachment toward patients, he admits that current suggestions for improvement stand little hope of adoption. Perhaps most telling is his decision not to go into a residency but rather to return to anthropology. Konner's evident maturity and broad experience enable him to present a wider-angled look at medical education than most such reports; thus his criticism is particularly convincing. Recommended. Anne Twitchell, EPA Headquarters Lib., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140111163
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1988
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.12 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Melvin Konner, Ph.D., M.D., the author of nine books, is a Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, where he teaches in the anthropology, human biology, and Jewish studies programs. He has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, Science, and the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Table of Contents


1. INTRODUCTION: A Compensatory Pause
2. BASIC CLINICAL SKILLS: The First Encounters
4. ANESTHESIOLOGY: The Technicians of Sleep
5. WARD SURGERY: Crossing the Boundary
7. PSYCHIATRY: The Mind-Body Problem
8. PEDIATRICS: Suffer the Children
9. OBSTETRICS: The Anatomical Volcano
10. GYNECOLOGY: The Machinery of Creation
11. PATHOLOGY: The Aspect of Death
12. MEDICINE I: A Failure of the Heart
13. MEDICINE II: Deathwatches
14. MEDICINE III: Healing and Hope
15. THE FOURTH YEAR: Highlights and Heroes
16. CONCLUSION: Healing Artisans

A Glossary of House Officer Slang

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2005

    Tx High School

    I'm a high school student and I've always had an interest in medicine...this book not only opened my minds, but made me more determined to complete medical school and become one of those 'rare' doctors that cares! Must read for anyone would has an interest in Medicine

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2003

    A must for pre-meds

    I am starting medical school this summer and having worked in clinical medicine aswell as research, this book really opened my eyes to what is ahead of me

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2003

    good book

    I really enjoyed reading this novel. it gave me insight to medical school and a background of the lingo and atmosphere of a hosptil setting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2001

    A resident's view of medical school

    I am a registered nurse and am taking premed courses for medical school. I can definitely understand some of Dr. Konner's comments and thoughts, being in the profession for 11 years now. Bedside manner is imperative no matter how good of a doctor you are. I always treat my patients as if they were one of my parents/children. I enjoyed 'going through' his rotations with him as I am interested in the residency years of medical school. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to become a doctor or who is just interested in it. :)

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