A few months ago, I realized it was time to have a conversation with my tweenage son that I had been dreading. It wasn’t where babies come from. It wasn’t about death or illness or substance abuse. My son, always sensitive and inquisitive, was sitting next to me Googling random things. Then he Googled his dad, and my heart stopped.  Because I knew the next search would probably be me. I haven’t Googled my name ...

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I discovered one of the most important leadership challenges in my first leadership position supervising a staff of doctors and nurses at a hospital: Being able to see our own contribution to problems. I was confident, having been hired because of my skills developing teams. But, shortly after I started, the team began struggling with what I call “reactivity”: behaviors counterproductive for goals and collaboration. Examples included people getting stuck in arguments ...

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One of my most vivid early memories is from when I broke my collarbone.  In a first-grade relay race, kids were running at top speeds in opposite directions, so it was no surprise that I collided into a classmate.  I was knocked to the ground and cried in pain.  The school nurse called my mother, who came and took me home, carrying me all the way. Now that I have a ...

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A massive smile creased my lips upward as the rumble of the moving truck pushed the miles farther behind. My dream job and life on a quiet lake lay in wait at the end of this day's journey. Trading in urban life and working two to three weekends every month required little neuronal firing. The first few years went as slated. Decent hours, great pay, no call, and a package of benefits ...

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It’s a funny world we live in. Lots of people make a handsome living, defining their work and setting their own fees and hours with little or no formal education or certification There are personal and executive coaches, wealth advisers, marketing experts, closet organizers, and all kinds of people offering to help us run our lives. In each of these fields, the expectation is that the provider of such services has his ...

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Did you know that the traditional doctor’s white coat that you probably associate with your physician actually was a look that doctors “borrowed” from another profession? Back in the early days of doctoring, to add some perceived legitimacy to the title physician, the white coat look was adopted from our colleagues in the hard sciences who did actual experiments in the lab. If you recall, what we doctors call a “white ...

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Falling through the cracks, when it comes to health care, is a bad thing, but the way things are going, it's getting harder and harder to avoid. Providers in every setting are bombarded on all sides with data, results, messages, and things crying out -- screaming -- for our attention. Take, for instance, the conundrum that appears when a patient is ...

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On July 8, 2019, the American Academy of Emergency Medicine wrote a letter to the American Medical Association, asking the organization to create a public campaign to support physician-led care. Noting concerns over the recent media crusade to promote nurse practitioner care to patients, including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners "We Choose NPs" campaign, the letter asks the American Medical Association to combat the ...

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"The Big Sick" is an intimidating name for a movie. I never know what to think when "sick" is used as a noun. Does it mean vomit? Are we referring to ailing people? Just as the name doesn't give you much insight, neither does the beginning of the film. It has nothing to do with illness. It's about a Pakistani standup comedian/Uber driver who starts dating a white girl, but ...

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"What's the most common missed fracture?" my supervising PA asked during my clinical rotation in the emergency department. "The second one," I answered confidently. It was the right answer, and I surprised him by knowing it. He had previously given a lecture to my class and had emphasized this clinical pearl in such a way that I knew it was one of his favorite trick questions. Unfortunately, I didn't always know ...

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