I pause in front of the door. On the other side, you all wait. A spouse, sons and daughters, sometimes with their own small children in tow. Today, it’s your husband and father you have come for. Yesterday it was someone else’s mother. You have come from near and far, across the street and the country. Your weary eyes are unable to mask your sadness. Over the past week, you ...

Read more...

What do you do when you know someone is going to die? I’m not talking about death when it comes at the end of a long protracted illness or a terminal diagnosis. Or the final act at the end of a “good” life, when the body and mind have ultimately given way. I’m talking about when you realize the twenty-five-year-old woman in front of you, who you met five minutes ago, ...

Read more...

What can I tell you? It started out innocently. College exams were over. And that meant one thing — party time! Bubbly, shots, beer, cocaine and Percocet. Everyone was happy. It was a celebration. Pam came from a pretty strict religious family: no alcohol, no premarital sex and no crazy music in her house growing up. It was church every Wednesday and Sunday. And if you missed a Sunday, you were ...

Read more...

Burnout syndrome is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. I burned out early. Right out of fellowship, I no longer wanted to be a doctor. The grueling hours, my grumpy co-workers, and distant patient engagements left me totally exhausted. However, over the course of a year, I was able to rediscover my passion for medicine. Some tactics were deliberate, mindful behaviors, some occurred ...

Read more...

I burned out early. I was done being a doctor at the end of fellowship. Although I took a job as a critical care physician, I desperately sought to alter my career somehow. I looked into website development, something I had been good at in high school. I took a few refresher classes on my days off and started coding my own sites. Luckily, my first job out of fellowship accepted many ...

Read more...

I knew the moment when my career in pediatrics was over.  I was in the fourth year of my med-peds residency, taking overnight call in the pediatric ICU.  Nights were busy, stressful and I was alone.  A young boy came in as an unrestrained MVA after his father hit another car. Dad was OK (although severely distraught), but the five-year-old towhead boy in front of me was not, with his head immobilized in ...

Read more...

I am not God. Nor do I want to be, but I feel sometimes that my patients and their families do. When I entered the ICU early that overcast morning I knew judging from the throng of anxious people waiting outside that things were not right. He came to me straight away, his eyes haunting and sunken as if he hadn’t slept for the whole night. His body barely able to support ...

Read more...

Bringing a child into the world is nothing short of a miracle. It’s not comforting to think about, but even if you do everything “right,” there can always be circumstances beyond your control. Whether you have been told to plan for a stay in the NICU or it’s unexpected, here are survival tips from nurses for orienting yourself to the NICU. 1. Try to see your baby as soon as possible. It ...

Read more...

Once upon a time, I worked for a large hospital in the surgical-trauma ICU. It was just a six-month gig, and I had to travel from home further than I wanted. But my son would be starting college soon, and the $10,000 bonus was too irresistible. Diane was the manager. The most kind, skilled, and helpful person I have ever met as an ICU manager. She had every possible attribute as a ...

Read more...

We fought. And we fought hard. We were smarter and quicker and we could multi-task, and critically think beyond any MD or NP or PA or beyond any cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) nurse. We always thought we had the higher acuities. We had the critical patients. The multi-system failure patients. The hemodynamically unstable patients. We had to figure out the lungs, the heart, the kidneys, the brain, the pancreas, the gallbladder, the liver. And ...

Read more...

5 Pages

Most Popular