Academic Medicine

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829e19a8
Teaching and Learning Moments

Words of Comfort

Possner, Adam MD

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Author Information

Dr. Possner is assistant professor, Department of General Internal Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC; e-mail:

They were given to me

in my own time of need

during my intern year

amid fear and self-doubt.

You may not believe me

but things will get better.

He was right. I didn’t

believe him, which is why

part of me believed him.

And things did get better.

Now, several years later

I am an attending.

When I have a learner

or a patient who is

in need of hope, I share

these same words of comfort

as long as I believe

they really could be true.

Author’s Note: In this poem, I describe the difficulty I faced as I transitioned from a fourth-year medical student to an intern and the words of comfort my program director at the time shared. I continue to carry these words with me and to pass them on to others in need along the way.

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges


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