acp new logoA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. If the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword” is true, then the doctor’s note is the most powerful weapon around. When I entered practice over 25 years ago, I wrote notes when people were too sick or injured to work, or to verify ...

Read more...

As a registered nurse and health care writer and editor for more than 25 years, I routinely wrote or assigned stories to other writers about the health of LGBT individuals.  I valued these stories not only because I was a nurse, but also because I thought the subject was worthy of coverage. I believed our nurse readers should be aware of the specific health needs of their LGBT patients. I followed ...

Read more...

When I think back about what I learned about drug addiction in medical school in the 1980s, I can’t think of much. Sure, I talked to plenty of patients who had been snorting coke and injecting heroine. One man with AIDS promised to teach me how to draw blood, if I’d sit by his side and keep him company. He didn’t have any other visitors. Maximum security prison where he was ...

Read more...

Physicians have one of the highest rates of suicide of any profession: nearly twice the rate of the general population. 400 physicians commit suicide each year in the United States. The stress of being a doctor is constant and unrelenting. The majority of us are perfectionists with a strong work ethic: your classic Type A personality. Maybe we set ourselves up for failure and then cannot accept when it inevitably ...

Read more...

1. Quit taking care of yourself. There is no upper limit to the needs of patients. There is always more medicine to learn and do. Add to this the needs of children, aging parents and a partner -- your time for yourself quickly becomes zero. Want to get burned out quickly? Quit exercising. Eat on the run. Have disrupted sleep. Don’t set professional boundaries. Miss enough first steps, parent’s medical ...

Read more...

Evidence-based medicine is at the heart of what we physicians do. It is the basis for professional decision-making, and a focus of most journal articles we read. Using solid evidence to practice good medicine has been a foundation of clinical practice for decades. There are consequences for failing to follow evidence-based guidelines. If patient harm results from straying from a more loosely defined “standard of care,” which tends to be evidence-based, ...

Read more...

Today’s restless society has taken its toll on modern medicine. Among all the strategies for protocol optimization and health insurance improvements, doctors get to spend less and less time actually talking to their patients. Each check-up needs to be performed in a certain amount of time, and every procedure needs to be completed as quickly as possible so that hospitals are efficient and profitable. While this makes perfect financial sense, it ...

Read more...

I am about to place my plate in the sink, until I see a single pea left on my plate. I recall a recent article in National Geographic that stated that one-third of all the food we produce is wasted. I have a Zen moment, and think of the journey the pea made to reach my plate. A farmer in California sowed the seeds six months earlier. A farm worker harvested ...

Read more...

If you are a doctor, everywhere you hear or read about all that is wrong in medicine.  Please do not get me wrong, the medical profession is under assault.  Change is occurring all around us, and much of it has the potential to be disastrous to not only us and our families, but more importantly to our patients.  For many of us in the profession, we feel helpless.  We feel ...

Read more...

Doctors have an interesting problem. They have an ingrained professional obsessive-compulsive habit; they fixate on the care of individual patients and on the science of healing. This is an admirable trait; it results in high-quality care. However, when physicians need to change their attention from healer to leader, from medicine to the business of medicine, from health care to the health care system, they falter. Stuck in silos, they fail to ...

Read more...

Most Popular