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In every job, there are phrases you find yourself using over and over again. Like so many diffuse phenomena, the Germans have a word for this: Leitwort. It translates as “leading word”, and is similar to the more commonly known term leitmotif. Originally used by Martin Buber in the context of biblical study, it was all about looking for the keyword that would guide you through the passage being studied.

Doctors have their own leitworts, and every specialty has their own distinct variations. Recently, a gynecologist on Twitter started the hashtag #medleitwort, asking her fellow physicians to share the words they find themselves saying day in and day out.

Here are some of the responses shared on the #medleitwort hashtag. We’ll add more by specialty as they appear.

Pediatrics:

Psychiatry:

Obstetrics:

Gynecology:

Pharmacy:

Emergency Medicine:

Intensive Care:

Anesthesia:

Rheumatology:

Pulmonology:

Physical Therapy:


Doctors from every specialty share their clinical knowledge on Figure 1. Our free app is available on iOS, Android, and the web.