In family medicine residency back in the early 2000s, we had a then-novel curriculum in narrative medicine. During inpatient rounds, we would sometimes get a few minutes to write down our thoughts about a patient's experience. I remember how cathartic even refreshing at times that felt, to write my feelings about my first patient on the wards with severe heart failure or that sweet toddler I had to put an ...

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When I decided to become a doctor, little did I know that medical school and residency would be like a hazing for future physicians. We are broken down mentally and physically and then remade in the image of the "strong" doctor and to admit to being sick is equivalent to being weak. We are publicly shamed for admitting we don't know the answer to daily pimping on morning rounds. We ...

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Now more than ever, it seems that medicine, politics, social justice, and societal mores have become intertwined. There are so many "lanes" that the 405 to the 10 freeway splits seem like country roads in comparison. Perhaps we have social media to thank for this multitude of lanes. Or maybe it's to blame. When doctors were publicly berated (on social media, primarily) soon after we became outspoken about the issue of ...

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Anyone familiar with Nintendo's Mario franchise is probably very confused by the title of this blog but stay with me here. My kids have recently become obsessed with Mario. It's brought back great memories from my childhood of playing Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System way back in the day and "Super Mario Bros." before that. As I've assisted my kids in defeating a boss here or there, I ...

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Health care providers may have one of the most dangerous jobs out there — and it is only getting worse. Nearly 74 percent of workplace assaults occur in the health care setting, and health care accounts for almost as many serious violent injuries as all other industries combined. The statistics are alarming. Seventy-eight percent of emergency physicians report being targets of workplace violence in the ...

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Reflexively, I often feel my breath catch, and my eyeballs roll ever-so-slightly when a patient leads with, “I saw on the internet ...” The precious minutes available to connect, inspect, and direct the management of their Google search are suddenly squandered by backtracking to reassure the bug bite will not turn into the bubonic plague! Our medical training has been outsourced to Wikipedia and WebMD. Today we all stand guilty believing we are ...

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I'm a physician married to a physician. Initially, I did not think I would face obstacles because of our dual career paths. I would soon learn; however, professional and personal sacrifices would be necessary for us to achieve our goals. This is my story as a training physician and a "single" mom, including some of the challenges I experienced being married to a physician. I met my husband in the first ...

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What About Recovery” is a provocative essay by Yale professor Lenore Buckley, MD, in JAMA. She writes in detail about the death of her 68-year-old brother in a hospital. She felt his doctors did not do enough to help him recover because his nutritional and physical therapy needs were not met. However, there’s more to it. She calls out the system existing in every hospital I’m aware of writing, ...

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A large number of pediatric practices these days use after-hours call centers for parents who have questions about a sick child. I’ve been looking around to find some data about how common this is, but my sense is that the majority of pediatricians use them. There is no question these call centers make life easier for the doctor; having somebody screen the calls, answer easy questions, and only call you ...

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Health care is a tough job to work in -- whether you are a doctor, nurse or any other professional. We are dealing with matters of life and death, our patients expect (and deserve) the best from us, and we always have a hundred-and-one things to do at the frontlines of medicine. I remember reading somewhere when I was a teenager that a career in medicine would be a “mentally, ...

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