Why do we want to become doctors? What was our main motivation that we have written in our motivation letters and repeated in our interviews? Regardless of the specific incident or the general motivation, it can be all summarized in one sentence: We are here to save lives. After all, this is what the physicians do, isn’t it? Preventing deaths is actually hinted to by the original Hippocratic Oath, written between ...

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Here’s some advice for your career in health care: Leave the country as soon as possible. This has nothing to do with the president’s attempts to euthanize the Affordable Care Act. Or with EMRs, Medicare reimbursements, or the burnout surveys you get from your employer, who also sends emails aimed at getting you to work faster and more efficiently. It’s none of that. You need to leave the country, just for a ...

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When looking at why we as an industry have been largely unsuccessful in combating the epidemic of burnout that is plaguing our community, we must deal with our approach to solutions. One of the biggest things to distinguish about burnout is that it’s not a problem to be solved.  It’s not a diagnosis to be made, and it’s not a condition to be treated. Burnout is a perplexity; a vicious cycle ...

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Giving birth and running a marathon. They are two seemingly different entities but have many similarities. The inevitable pain, the highs, the lows, the feeling that you may falter or can’t survive the pain and, in the midst of it all, that you will never do it again … but then you do. Marathons take months to train for by growing your strength and endurance as you increase your training miles. ...

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Do you know we have record rates of physician burnout, dissatisfaction, and suicide? Ongoing shortages in primary care, without improvement in sight? Physicians exiting medicine earlier  than in the past? What about burnout? Do you know it affects patients as well as their doctors? Affects physicians' families and friends? Increases mistakes and malpractice risk? Affects patient adherence and outcomes? Is costly to the entire system? How do we start to fix this? ...

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In the movie Malice, Alec Baldwin plays Dr. Jed Hill, a surgeon who gives a famous speech during a deposition in a medical malpractice case. “”If you’re looking for God, he was in operating room #2 on November 17th, and he doesn’t like to be second-guessed ... I am God.” No one wants a doctor like that. And yet, maybe we do. We yearn for someone capable of healing all of our ...

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The practice of medicine is a lot like the practice of parenting. It is full of highs and lows, moments of pure joy and those of devastating heartache. When I talk to my friends who are parents, they agree with me. Some of the most difficult times as a parent is watching your kids fail. When your child is hurting, it hurts far worse than if you had experienced it first ...

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I have no business background: zero, zilch, nada. Growing up, I was the kid who bought the lemonade, not the one who set up shop on the busy street corner. My parents bought the cookie dough, coupon book and every other school fundraiser from the kid next door instead of their own child. Job interviews? Never had them. All the jobs I've ever had I got because I knew the ...

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"How did you know what to say to her?" asked the resident, "We have been trying to figure her out all morning and have gotten nowhere." An expression of mixed curiosity and frustration crossed her face. “I try not to focus on how she is acting, as much as I try to talk to the part of her Jesus would love,” I found myself answering. This catchphrase would find its way ...

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After about the first week of anesthesia residency, I was told, “Don’t get pregnant, you are going to ruin the call schedule.”  Initially, I took it as a joke because I was getting married that year and I wasn’t thinking of having children yet, but I did think, “what if it happened accidentally?” After it’s told to you over and over again by your male co-residents and even some of my ...

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