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Academic Medicine Podcast

May 23, 2022

As tears seeped from the corners of her eyes and stained her cheeks, I felt powerless. I reached for her hand, wishing I could offer my bare human hand instead of an impersonal blue latex glove. Holding her hand was the only thing I could do in the moment; I hoped it made her feel less alone.

Natalie C. Spach, a fourth-year medical student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reflects on the importance of physicians demonstrating compassion and empathy towards patients when they are at their most vulnerable.  

The essay read in this episode was published in the Teaching and Learning Moments column in the May 2022 issue of Academic Medicine. Read the essay at