Before I got into medical school, while I was still in my first year of graduate school, I learned what hell was like. The hospital was a rabbit warren. Walking down the long empty beige halls fueled my hatred for hospitals.  And, of the color beige. When I had volunteered during college, I would press myself up against the wall whenever a gaggle of doctors passed by. They ruled the hospital: powerful, ...

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shutterstock_141076960 As someone who has practiced hospital medicine up and down the East Coast for the last several years, I’ve had the fortune of working with some absolutely terrific colleagues. The hospital environment is by its very nature a busy and hectic one -- where we all put our heads down and work tirelessly at the coalface for hours on end. Doctors ...

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There is much to learn as a new physician, but some patients teach you things you never meant to learn. This happened to me a few months ago. I was taking care of a 26 year old who had an end-stage, inoperable brain tumor that was causing progressive seizure activity. He was admitted with a headache. He had just been discharged about one week ago with similar symptoms. We treated his ...

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shutterstock_10582288 I've been volunteering in an emergency department of a Southern Californian community hospital for five years. I clean gurneys, stock shelves, provide support for RNs and EMTs and translate for Spanish-speaking patients. Since my job requires minimal intellectual effort, I’ve had considerable time to observe the staff and contemplate the inspiring work they do. I’ve watched them perform heroically with sick babies, ...

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shutterstock_50607919 Physician, heal thyself. That's the unwritten rule, sadly, for us. I am a physician. I am therefore invincible and inhuman and all the things my patients cannot be. To seek help is a sign of weakness, and our profession has no place for the weak of body, mind or spirit. We work through illness because our patients deserve that and disease and ...

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shutterstock_116371780 The war on medical error was officially launched in 1999, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its landmark report To Err is Human, alleging that up to 98,000 yearly deaths in US hospitals were due to human missteps. Despite significant ambiguities in the definition of a medical error, numerous militias known as patient safety organizations ...

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Ever wonder what patients think of when you see them in the hospital?  Here's the answer, in this powerful video from the Cleveland Clinic.

If you were a cancer center trying to get patients to come to receive care at your facility, what message would you send them? In other words, what would you as a cancer center director think people would value in choosing a place to receive cancer care? One way to answer this would be to survey cancer center directors. You could conduct face-to-face interviews or written surveys. You could hold focus ...

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shutterstock_141622243 Some years ago when my father underwent bypass surgery, he was anxious, depressed and in pain as he lay in the hospital bed tied to IV catheters and tubes. Each day, his surgeon, his hospitalist, and other consultant doctors whisked in and out, asking how he was feeling and then ordering a treatment plan. A few years after his full recovery, ...

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shutterstock_246953212 Let's take a moment to consider what makes a terrific nurse. First, by way of gathering information, let's consider the health care industry's present views on excellence in nursing.  Let's think about how this conception of excellence in nursing aligns with our own perspectives. In a recent Atlantic article, titled "The Problem with Satisfied Patients," Alexandra Robbins writes about the economic ...

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