Fear is something that most of us have felt at one time or another. That feeling of being threatened, when you feel as though your current state is in jeopardy. It's an instinctive reflex to flee or fight the threat. This instinct has been with us since our earliest moments on earth. Fear can be seen as a driver, too: that force that pushes us into making changes and responding ...

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I’ve been semi-retired in clinical medicine for almost four years now.  Initially, I found myself coaching burned out physicians: Helping them recover, finding careers they love, and even starting their own businesses outside the box. However, as I listened to my inner voice, I was led back to my healing roots, and that opened up a career opportunity I would have never imagined to have. Let me back up a bit.  ...

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As medical trainees, we learn how to be competent in our craft. If we are competent, it is assumed we will be successful and confident in our abilities. However, empowered performance requires a focus on not only competence, but also confidence. We stumble in our endeavors even though we may be highly competent. The study of medicine does not support the attainment of higher levels of confidence; in fact, it actually ...

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Most of the world knows by now that on the afternoon of April 11th, a 20-year-old Black man named Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer in an inner-ring suburb of the city I call home: Minneapolis. Most of the world is watching Minneapolis as Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck, is tried on charges of manslaughter and homicide. Several hours before I typed ...

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In the “before times,” most Americans went about their lives relatively unpreoccupied with death. In fact, one CBS News poll found only 14 percent of Americans spent “a lot of time” thinking about their own mortality. What a difference a pandemic makes. With every masked trip to the grocery store, every passerby who coughs too close and every “doom scroll” through ...

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About half of America’s seniors are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and close to three-quarters have gotten at least one shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. This is good news. Seniors have suffered disproportionately from the coronavirus. They have become gravely ill, passed away, and passed the time over the last year in complete isolation. When the vaccines first became available, health officials wisely moved older adults to the ...

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I have seen great leadership and bad leadership. As a leader, I have also made my share of mistakes, and I am sure I will make more. When I do, I will immediately take ownership of it, learn from it, and do all I can not to make the same mistake. However, there will be times I may not recognize my failure, as can happen with any leader. ...

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The end is in sight, but there are still months to go. How can we persevere when our strength has been collectively sapped over the last year, and our sense of grief at what has been lost will persist even when isolation and distancing are over? To answer this, I've turned to three very different physicians and scientists. Here are practical ideas drawn from their wisdom, expertise, experience and experiments for how ...

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The term “second victim syndrome” was first coined by Dr. Albert Wu in 2000.  The definition is “the effect of an unanticipated adverse medical event on a clinician.”  Certainly, the concept is pertinent to what health care professionals experience in their careers, but it comes with a very negative connotation.  There has been discussion in the literature of the need to change the name, but so far, nothing has really ...

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I’ve been speaking with women physicians about the top challenges they face today. I’ve learned there are many—which honestly didn’t surprise me, given that 48 percent of women physicians report burnout symptoms (compared with 37 percent of their male counterparts). Several have mentioned the challenge of breastfeeding while working—rather ironic considering what is known about the health benefits for mother and infant. Maybe their colleagues and ...

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