Theresa Miller is one of the hardest working women I know. She doesn’t come into the office very often. She no longer needs my prescription for her heartburn medication, as it costs less for her to buy it over the counter these days. Today I saw her for a preoperative clearance. She finally decided to get an operation for her chronically sore shoulder. She had injured it many years ago>. In ...

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This is a story of two deaths. These patients' stories intersected on the same morning, in the same building, in two adjacent rooms, has left me thinking about them. I was surprised to see Mrs. Stevens' name on my schedule today. She came to the office last week, and I felt sure that she'd be too weak for another visit. But I was glad she'd made it, as I've become quite ...

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When I was in medical school, “real” doctors saved lives. Period. Specialists who focused on a patient’s quality of life, (the plastic surgeons, bariatric surgeons, holistic practitioners, infertility experts, etc.) were considered sellouts. (We won’t even consider the med school status of future psychiatrists.) We disparaged these doctors because they could be saving lives and chose not to, because they were often paid (God forbid) out-of-pocket by their patients, and because they ...

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The ultimate goal of every young physician while in medical school and residency should be to become a remarkable doctor. However, what if one of the biggest factors of being a great doctor was not addressed from the start? Financial wellness may not directly correlate with being an incredible doctor, but stress can and does, and today's young medical professionals have a lot on their plates — beginning with $200,000 in ...

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As a physician from Ghana brought up in a very religious family, I must admit that when it comes to gay rights and other issues related to sexual minorities I was as far to the right as anyone could be.  My first experience with openly gay individuals was when I came to the United States. Needless to say, gay behavior in Ghana was so stigmatized as to be nonexistent in ...

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The reason for Chandra’s office visit is to fill out form N-648. Chandra* is a fifty-nine-year-old Bhutanese refugee who has been my patient for the last nine months. Form N-648 is a six-page bureaucratic nightmare that is guaranteed to bring my clinic day to a grinding halt. My refugee patients bring me this form to certify that they are unable to take the test to become a U.S. citizen due ...

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I am a family physician who has been in practice since 2007. My practice is broad in scope; immediately out of residency I worked in a community health center where I practiced obstetrics, newborn care, and inpatient medicine and pediatrics, along with my outpatient obligations. Since 2011 I have been a locum tenens physician working in rural Colorado in emergency departments, clinics, and hospitals. I recently received your American Board of ...

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An excerpt from Physician—Time to Invest in Yourself: Work-Life Balance, the Needs of the Patient, and Medical-Legal Risk Management. What is an essentialist? What is an essentialist lifestyle? Essentialism focuses on identifying the important signals in life and eliminating the noise. The noises are the distractions that add no value to your life and frequently monopolize time and meaning. When you assume the role of an essentialist you will ...

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Physician burnout has become a popular buzzword in the medical community causing physicians, organizations, and medical education programs to seek solutions to what seems to be a growing problem.  The result: Tons of research, new pilot projects, and burnout prevention programs are being implemented to try to “treat the problem.”  Yet, for all of the research that is being done, there has been no one good “solution” for doctors burning ...

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I knew the patient was fuming mad and I could hardly blame him. His symptoms were debilitating and the battle to get a diagnostic test authorized by his insurance company set him over the edge. My staff fought a hard war convincing the insurance company that the patient needed the test and lost. As the patient sat in front of me yelling practically in my face, I felt like the ...

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