Ballet dancers and doctors are essentially the same people. Long before I entered medicine, ballet taught me the skills that made me successful in my clinical practice.  I was a life-long learner.  I improved my skills with daily practice. I was creative with limited resources. I strived for excellence and was rewarded for these efforts.  The skills I learned as a professional ballet dancer prepared me well for medicine. There was ...

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"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" - Mary Oliver, The Summer Day Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being." The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. The word translated to English roughly means "thing that you live for" or "the reason for ...

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CC: "I feel like crap." HPI: 29-year old female internal medicine resident. Hasn't seen sunlight in over three months due to 100 hour work weeks.  Crying at work. Always exhausted and irritable.  Isolated from friends and family.  Feels guilty that she is not effective at work and home.  States recent labs were normal. ROS: Gen: hypersomnia HEENT: teeth grinding CV: chest pressure, palpitations GI: decreased appetite with weight loss Neuro: headaches Psych: apathetic, not suicidal Meds: none Social: alcohol on ...

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Every physician I know has a story about an unanticipated patient event.  A story that was traumatic at the time and easy to now recall in fine detail.  A story that was so impactful that it still haunts them.  When a patient suffers an adverse event, many people are affected — the patient, his or her family, and the health care providers. The physicians and their team who are most ...

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I woke up today wearing the lead suit of grief. I was tired, irritable, and tearful.  I was angry at the lack of PPE and the risk that this poses to my colleagues.  I was sad, anticipating the loss of my colleagues who are still alive and well.  I was in denial, wondering if I could sneak my kids out of town for spring break.  But in reality, I was ...

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On my final day of work before beginning my self-imposed  burnout sabbatical, a colleague asked, "Why don't you just get on medication?" I remember thinking, "What am I medicating?  I feel nothing." I was in the vice grip of burnout, overwhelmed, and physically and emotionally exhausted.  But mostly, I was numb. But in reality, I have always self-medicated - with work.  As a professional ballet dancer turned doctor, my life has ...

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