Physician burnout has become the new “buzzword” in the medical industry that is the catalyst for ongoing research and the implementation of new “pilot projects” in the academic world of medicine. However, the research that is being done, is fairly (and predictably) narrow-minded when it comes to teasing out who really is at highest risk for these burnout, depression and even physician suicide. The research indicates that there are several risk ...

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The “doctor-patient” relationship is tightly woven into the culture and history of medicine. But that special bond is under enormous pressure today. And to keep it from fraying, we need periodically to examine the fabric. Last month, the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), representing 28 of the nation’s largest and best medical groups in the U.S., did just that. Annually, CAPP sponsors a meeting in Washington D.C. where it invites ...

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“Noncardiac chest pain” was Laurie Black’s discharge diagnosis. Her chest CT angiogram didn’t show a pulmonary embolus, her troponins were negative for a heart attack and her nuclear stress test was negative for coronary ischemia. “So what do you think it was?” she asked while I read through her hospital discharge summary. “I don’t know. Show me where the pain was,” I answered. “It started on my back, on the left side, and ...

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So, you’re a physician with a love of travel — awesome! One week of your salary allows you to travel anywhere in the world (coach, at least) — double awesome! But, as you are acutely aware, there is a catch … a big one. As a full time doc, how do you possibly get the time off to explore new cultures, hike/bike amazing trails and eat/drink around the globe? As physicians ...

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We are all panicked over student loan debt. The size of the loan can be worrisome — sometimes overwhelming. The average medical student debt is over $160,000, and it’s not unusual to owe $300,000 to $450,000! The compounded interest is growing every day and adding to your anxiety. Most early career physicians state the stress related to paying off these loans is their greatest emotional burden. Think about that — ...

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Two hours of administrative tasks for every hour with patients. A proliferation of non-physician administrators deciding how the day is going to run. Little in our training about how to cope with uncertainty and change. It’s no surprise that burnout rates are approaching 60 percent. Despite being so common, when we see a colleague struggling with physician burnout, we may not know what to say. Responding appropriately can bring someone ...

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I see them every time I wait in the inescapably long lines at the grocery store. They’re offering me so much. Fat-melting foods that “work like gastric bypass.” Sleep masks that prevent breast cancer. One day diets. And, of course, the perennial “medical miracles.” All these revelations can be mine with a simple magazine purchase. It’s easy to dismiss the medical advice being propagated through the supermarket checkout aisle. Who would ...

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I read an article by Dr. Jarret Patton that reminded us that “Cops and doctors have the same problem: People don’t trust them.” I remember thinking to myself that I had to do something to help clarify the source of this age-old problem and also to help improve the situation. It is important for us to remember that our past life experiences, diverse cultures, goals and ...

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“Transparency” is the name of the game in the 21st century. Transparency is now required in any service-oriented profession, whether plumbing, law or real estate. Now, transparency has made its way into the field of medicine. I say this because medicine has historically been an opaque profession. Many physicians leveraged the fact that they were put on a pedestal to deliver a paternalistic style of medical care. With the advent of ...

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I remember one sunny day in Chicago, in June 2011, when my husband and I packed up our two young children, aged 2 and 5 months.  Professional movers had collected our belongings and had driven off a day prior.  We were headed out of state, to my first job at an academic hospital.  It had been a rather hectic few months for me, having just had a baby 5 months ...

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