If you are a physician reading this, please pat yourself on the back. You made it through medical school and residency so, de facto, you have both resiliency and grit (serious buzzwords, y’all). But as anyone who has gone through these professional challenges, it often doesn’t seem so. I am 44 years old and am faculty at a major public university and cis-gendered, heterosexual, married, two kids and have a full-time ...

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Recently, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health reported on the effect of surgical checklists in South Carolina. The press release was titled, “South Carolina hospitals see major drop in post-surgical deaths with nation’s first proven statewide Surgical Safety Checklist Program.” The Health News Review, for which I review, grades coverage of research in the media. Based on their objective criteria, the Harvard press release would ...

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When my children were growing up, I advised them, “Don’t choose any profession in which your worth is determined by knowing a body of information or using algorithmic thinking. If you do that, you’re toast.” ”Toast” because monopolies on information have been supplanted by the internet, and algorithmic thinking replaced by computers and artificial intelligence. Incredibly, this seismic shift in what society values has occurred in just a single generation. And that’s ...

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I stood in line behind a physician, slightly balding and in a long, starched lab coat at the coffee shop in our hospital. As he paid and took his coffee, I noticed that he smiled and called the clerk by name, “Thank you, Terri.” He went on about his day, and I was left to wonder about the man, his practice and what type of person he was. My friend has ...

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Mindfulness has gained a lot of awareness and attention over the last few years as the medical community has set out to find strategies for prevention of physicians burnout. What has been coined “mindfulness-based stress reduction” or “mindfulness” is a principle proven long before medical researchers decided to reduce it to treatment strategy to promote acceptance among the physician community. This very useful tool today is becoming widely used in ...

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STAT_Logo The cadaver lab is a rite of passage in medical school — those few months early on when we dissect a human body to better understand our anatomy. It’s grotesque: peeling back skin, separating muscle sinews, and sawing through bone. It’s so emotionally jarring that young doctors in training often compartmentalize the experience, and this person before us ...

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Two sisters (religious order, not biological relation, as far as I know) live in one of the condos across from us. They are very nice, older ladies, warm and pleasant, always ready with a kind word and a smile as they see others in the complex come and go. They seem, at least on casual observation, to lead very busy lives. They rise early, heading out to do whatever it ...

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When I am facing an alcoholic in the office, I do not advise him to stop drinking. Other physicians may advocate a different approach.  We live in a free society and individuals are free to make their own choices.  I have decided, for example, not to own a firearm, ride a motorcycle or bungee jump as these activities are not only beyond my risk tolerance threshold, but are also activities that ...

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A physician friend commented recently that practicing doctors and nurses, the highly trained professionals who understand health care better than anyone else, are always too busy working to be involved in health care administration and reform. It is one of the most basic and profound problems affecting our health care system -- one of the reasons that health care in America does not get better. And it got me thinking. Once ...

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When it comes to the review of systems, I've been a natural, a savant — a prodigy you might say. During my first few weeks of medical school, I remember doing mock interviews with fake patients. This was long before I learned anything about "HPI," "ROS," physical exams, billing or anything medically relevant for that matter. As other students stuttered, trying to figure out what to ask a lady pretending to ...

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