I flunk as a parent. I have no plans for my youngest kids this summer. The older ones are working. But the 13-year-old and 8-year-old, the ones at the formative stages of their academic and skill development (if you believe what everyone says), are doing squat. No camp. No enriching activities. No special trips. Well, we do rent a house at the beach for two weeks every summer, that's something, but ...

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Stop calling nurse practitioners mid level providers I really hate it when a nurse practitioner is called a mid-level provider. "Mid-level provider" isn’t even a legal or academic term. It is slang developed to demean or minimize a health professional, who is not an MD. The term "mid-level provider” is primarily aimed at nurse practitioners (NPs) as well as physician assistants (PAs) and mid-wives. It is insulting to health professionals ...

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In just a few days I’ll be leaving the clinic where I’ve practiced pediatrics for the past six years. The last months have been a flurry of last visits with families, paperwork, and tying up loose ends. There have been many, many goodbyes. I’ve been deeply moved by the expressions of gratitude and affection that many families have shared with me. It seems it is always in these times of change ...

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A couple of weeks ago, my family was traveling out of town. I was driving and my wife and almost 2-year-old daughter were buckled up in the back seat playing with some toys. My wife pulled out a brand new container of Play-Doh. As my daughter was preparing to pull the lid off to see what was inside, I drove through a section on the interstate where there was a ...

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It was an ordinary summer day.  People were milling on the main thoroughfare, bikes zig-zagging through traffic, cafés and pubs spilling onto the sidewalk, patrons sipping their way through a lazy Friday afternoon. We were ordinary that day too.  Just another family, managing the hectic jumble of kids’ lessons, bills, our careers, endless streams of birthday parties, too little sleep and the occasional date night out. But it was all shattered with ...

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“Is it weird that I cut myself on purpose?” A 14-year-old girl from a local middle school asked me this question at work last week. In my years as a Teen Xpress counselor, I have been asked about self-injurious behaviors many times. They ask: “What is it about?” “Isn’t it just a way to get attention?” “Why would someone do that?” “Are they trying to kill themselves?” It’s not only teens that ask about self-injury. I’ve ...

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Before you jump all over me, I have already outlined why I think we (doctors and medical offices) are the biggest part of the wait time problem. But, patients can help. Here are 3 ways you can help avoid long wait times at the doctor’s office. 1. Don’t request peak times during the day. Every office has busier times and not as busy times throughout the day. If you don’t know ...

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I wrote recently about getting started with an evaluation for a child who’s not doing well in school. Don’t rush to just do ADHD testing: There are many reasons for attention problems, and it’s best to not just zero in on ADHD at the start. Still, there’s a time when confirmation and testing for an ADHD diagnosis is appropriate. What kinds of tests are available? A clinical history is, well, talking ...

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Toilet training can sometimes be a stressful process. This is particularly the case for children who achieve daytime dryness but continue to wet themselves, and the bed, overnight. It may leave you wondering what’s normal and what you can do to help your child. Nighttime wetting is one of the most common urologic conditions in childhood. The vast majority of cases are not related to a physical cause. Most commonly, nighttime ...

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When school boards fancy themselves health care providers I met Madelyn for the first time last month in clinic. Six months prior, she was an otherwise healthy 14-year-old girl. One afternoon, Madelyn’s phys ed teacher led a gym class aimed at completing fitness and health assessments on all of the children in the grade. One at a time, each child was asked to step up and onto a scale ...

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