Most health care professionals went into the field because of a calling. For many of us, it is not just a career but a sense of mission. While the system drives hoards to the brink and over the edge of burn-out, a sense of purpose remains. The goals are not the same for all, but it is a good time to re-examine our life goals. Being a doctor, or any professional ...

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I am a new mom to a beautiful 8-month-old girl, and I am breastfeeding. I am also a doctor at a large, well-known academic institution. The hospital where I work delivers several thousand babies a year, and highly encourages their new moms to breastfeed. They offer a postpartum consultation with a lactation consultant, keep the baby in the mom's room 24/7 while in the hospital, and provide several other pro-breastfeeding ...

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It was around 2 p.m. when a 380-pound woman came into the ED. She was in her late 30s. The physician went to see her and then ordered IV fluids, some basic blood tests, and a urine sample. At a hospital, everyone’s job is made harder when a patient is obese. Getting the patient on the bed requires more personnel. Inserting an IV -- an intravenous catheter to infuse fluids or ...

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One of the most memorable times from my family medicine training days was the annual residency my intern year. It was the year of the World Cup, and a bonding experience that would later save my life.  Being able to be with not only my residency class, but also the faculty in a relaxed and empowering environment brought a sense of safety that allowed me to reach out to one ...

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“Bask in the glory, toots. You deserve it!” I received this text message from my very dear friend a few days ago after an extraordinary occurrence. I’m a retired internist, and recently my clinical acumen and intervention saved another friend’s life. That is a statement of fact, not a boast.  And that’s why I’m writing about it. The patient, a retired surgeon, hosted our circle of friends’ New Year’s Eve party a little ...

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Sure, it’s nice to think about cutting back on the work hours and spending more time at home with the kids. Or out on the running trails getting fit and enjoying nature. Or singing in a chorus. But how do you really make that decision? And if you do decide to work part-time, how do you make the most of it? After struggling to juggle two full-time health care careers with ...

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An excerpt from Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity. Sometimes a simple gesture and a few well-placed words can signal presence. One day on rounds in the hospital, as we walked into the room, Laura Hogan, a nurse-practitioner on our palliative care team, said three words to the patient: “What beautiful flowers.” ...

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Health behavior was my emphasis in my MPH. Add a faculty development fellowship, time as residency faculty, work in a private practice, and increasing interaction with medical students now as faculty at a medical school; the outcome is not just an emphasis, but a mindset. A mindset of health behavior that is not just for patients, but for physicians, as well. I must have company in this concept as ten invitations ...

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With all this talk about medical student, resident, and fellow burnout, I thought we might take a break to discuss the small delights that sprinkle throughout medical training. This is not a “You should publish as a trainee” manifesto. It’s more of a DIY guide for those who are interested but can’t find the time or the mentor. And after a decade of rejected manuscripts, unfortunately, I’ve got ...

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My car says it’s 2:10 a.m., 17 degrees. I just left my warm bed — and snoring husband — threw on scrubs and my contact lenses and quickly brushed my teeth and hair. I’m shivering as the car warms up and I hear the crunch of the snow as the car rolls out of the driveway. I’m the first one out on the fresh snow, and it glistens in the ...

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