A physician embraces the power of the word, “and” [PODCAST]


“I struggle for words to describe life in the season of COVID-19. Depending on the day, I need at least a few adjectives: ‘peculiar,’ ‘fine, all things considered,’ ‘terrifying.’ ‘Joyous’ and ‘anxious’ certainly make odd bedfellows in my brain.

As a mother and physician living this new reality, I’ve been extra thankful for Irene, who taught me the power of “and.” Irene is a clinical psychologist who was tasked with helping my family medicine residency classmates and me build skills for self-care and counseling.  She taught me to replace ‘but with ‘and’ in conversation.  This subtle verbal acknowledgement can reconcile what would typically be perceived as conflicting emotions or realities–like mental yoga.  The shift has served me well in my medical career and in personal relationships.  Imagine how different it feels to hear someone say, ‘You’re doing the best you can, but you can do better’ versus ‘You’re doing the best you can, and you can do better.'”

Rachel E. Hines is a family physician.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “A physician mother embraces the power of ‘and’ during the pandemic.”

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