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Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School Study Guide & Plot Summary

Melvin Konner
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Becoming a Doctor.
This section contains 415 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School Study Guide

Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School Summary & Study Guide Description

Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School by Melvin Konner.

Plot Summary

Melvin Konner's autobiographical story Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School was published in 1987 based on his experiences at Galen Memorial Hospital. He had just completed his two-year course of study at Flexner Medical School affiliated with the hospital. Konner was an anthropologist who earned his Ph.D. by the time he was twenty-five. Subsequently he did two years of anthropological research in Africa and taught six years as a Harvard University professor when he decided to become a medical student. At 33 years-old he had reflected on his life and still wanted to be a doctor. He considered this continuing late-age desire as proof of his "motivation to study medicine." His Uncle Bobby was a general practitioner in Brooklyn where his influence affected Konner's goals then and apparently continued into his adulthood.

He was in his mid-thirties with a successful career as author, anthropologist and Harvard instructor. He was married with a family when he decided on the "abnormal beat" of medical education and this book resulted. Konner wrote it as a "compensatory pause" which is like a brief rest in the heart cycle after an experience of "premature ventricular contraction," or "missed heartbeat." Konner "missed" an opportunity to study medicine when he became an anthropologist instead, but the idea stayed in his mind. This book shares his "journey" through medical school. Melvin Konner's text Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School is a 390 page autobiographical story of his two years as a medical student while doing clinical rotation at Galen Memorial Hospital. The book is an interesting sketch of two years in the life of a mature medical student who describes experiences, conflicts, joys and pains of life in a teaching hospital.

Ironically, Melvin Konner, M.D. is not practicing medicine except to the extent he is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry in his position as Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology at Emory University. In his book he does not say he wants to be a doctor. He states at the end of this work about being a practicing physician, "I am saving society a very large sum of money for each year I refrain." He seems to have spent a lot of time and trouble to become a physician and write a book about it that may motivate neither potential physicians nor casual readers to emulate. A reader considering medical school may prefer chapters in an order other than Konner experienced by chance.

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This section contains 415 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School Study Guide
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Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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