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Don’t let physician identity define you

When I left clinical practice, I thought I was prepared for the change in my identity. Wrong. I was shocked by the degree to which my sense of myself and my value in the world were rocked by leaving the profession. After all, I left practice less than seven years after I could legally write MD after my name. In residency and when practicing (and even to some extent as a medical student), I had reveled in the admiration of people I met at social gatherings — without realizing it. When I introduced myself as a physician, strangers leaned into the conversation, their faces lit up, with questions that were brisk and enthusiastic. Later, when I introduced myself as a writer, the response...

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