So there I was — in deep denial. Maybe you’ve been there: Ignoring the symptoms. Hoping and praying that it would just “go away.” A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And as a doctor, I like to think I can Google with the best of them. So when I had a persistent scary symptom (full disclosure: it was bloody discharge from my left breast. Not subtle. Not intermittent. Not OK, even ...

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I was in the break room at the hospital scarfing down a power bar between three-hour cases. The truth is, I was multi-tasking: eating, writing on a chart, and checking my email on my phone. I had received an email from a businesswoman, whom I have known for a few years. She wanted to know if I wanted to join her for lunch next week. I had to laugh out loud. The rest ...

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It makes me crazy when I hear things like, “Doctors are to blame for burnout. They need to just be tougher.” Are people really serious? This is like comparing us to people who are eating super-sized fast food meals daily, while complaining about their jeans being too tight. Not the same. Some will say that burnout is a given and just goes with the territory. Many debate whether this is something that needs to ...

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If you have a life where you never, ever say yes when you mean no, then you can stop reading right now. But I guess that you’re a lot like me. Now and then, you get caught off guard. And before you know it, you’re staying late to see that emergency patient. Bringing cupcakes for the second-grade class. Volunteering for the coffee meet-and-greet at church next Sunday. What’s up with that? We’re smart. ...

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Picture this: You’re in the operating room, performing a challenging procedure. (If you’re not a doctor, roll with me here and play along. You’ll get it soon.) You’re feeling pretty good about how the surgery is going. You’re grateful that your usual team is with you, because that always makes you feel more confident. Then something happens … Right at the most critical part of the procedure, crisis ensues and the instrument you’re using ...

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At some point in our lives, and it probably happens more often than we’d like to admit, we fake it. Let’s get real, shall we friends? Think about it. Your mother is having heart surgery in a small town across the country. You are, frankly, worried sick. Do you tell anyone in the operating room, especially your patient? What would you do? If you’re like me (OK, this was me recently), you fake it. You smile at your ...

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shutterstock_255266638 We’re not imagining it: We really are losing our connections to each other. It’s a huge problem. In fact, it’s life-threatening. A recent Wall Street Journal article discussed the Brigham Young University study that found that social isolation increases our risk of death by 32 percent. Duke University and the University of Arizona have been watching our connections go down the ...

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Have you ever been a patient? Yeah, me too. Many newly insured Americans will visit doctors’ offices this year. The average time you -- or anyone -- has with a primary care provider is 15 minutes. What’s a sick person to do? Happier patients make happier doctors. Here’s a helpful list that I’ve developed to help patient visits go smoother: 1. Pick three questions or concerns that you have for your doctor and write ...

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When I was in training, the rule was: See one, do one, teach one. That was the rule for everything. It could be starting an arterial line, suturing a wound, dictating an operative report. No doubt, that rule is still in play. But now, the playing field has changed. Could you be sending out the wrong message? Demonstrating a poor way to proceed? Before you say “No way!” -- Think about this: Have you ever ...

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shutterstock_238626826 Recently I was asked to talk to a special group: the doctors and staff who teach new doctors. I reached out to my community and the suggestions that came pouring in of how to improve physician burnout were amazing. What I learned is that a key element of guiding young doctors and avoiding burnout is to stop for a minute. Can you believe ...

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