This time last year, I took the podium at conferences as far away as Dubai to deliver my keynote speech entitled, "On The Cusp Of Life And Death, Choose Life." My talk highlighted the professional and personal development opportunities that show up as doctors, nurses, and parents navigate the challenges in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) caring for preterm and term newborns on the cusp of viability due to ...

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There are times in our journey as doctors when life gets in the way.  Well, life got in the way, and I had to go back to the basics and deepen my understanding and connection to my self and my source to easily navigate the curves and the bumps in the road. I had to figure out a way to move through the tears that came with the diagnosis and poor ...

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Physician wellness and work-life balance are hot topics in today's medical arena. It is on the minds of medical students, residents, and physicians in practice. While the concepts and methods to achieve it are enticing, the question remains how does the individual physician achieve it. Some believe that system-wide changes in medicine will get doctors closer to these goals. Then there are the supporters of strategies that physicians can implement ...

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Over the past few summers, I’ve been noticing that when it came to swimming in the deep end of the pool, I was fearful. Gone was the fearlessness of my youth, when I’d venture out, take risks and somehow just know I’d make it back to the shallow end where I could firmly stand on a solid foundation. Somewhere along the way, I had replaced my fearlessness with what if’s. What if ...

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I meet doctors in different arenas.  I meet them in clinical settings, at conferences, and by referral. I am noticing a trend. We are keenly aware of what we do not want in medicine. We talk about physician burnout and the impact it has on doctors’ lives.  We know first hand the effect the EMR has on the doctor-patient relationship as doctors spend less and less time in direct patient ...

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We often associate our calling with our career.  That’s what I did from the very moment I made that decision to become a doctor.  That’s all I focused on.  I studied for it. I invested time and money into it. Like many doctors, my identity was intimately woven in what it means to be a doctor. It’s who I became to the exclusion of everything else. From the outside looking in, ...

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Hitting a roadblock in your life and career? Don’t get frustrated. Use the resources that are readily available to you. Not sure what they are? Think about it. You have had access to them all the time. The moment you decided to become a doctor, you became unstoppable.  You may have followed the traditional path and went from college into medical school and then residency.  Maybe your path took a few turns before medical ...

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This time of year I like to walk down memory lane.  I remember my first rotation in the neonatal ICU. I was up all night doing heel sticks on preterm neonates, only to have to repeat them when the results came back because the K's (potassium levels) were elevated from squeezing the heel.  The life of an intern and resident on a NICU rotation has changed since I trained.  We no longer ...

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After years of being busy taking care of critically ill and recovering neonates in the neonatal ICU, then coming home to take care of my children, I’m making new decisions. One of them is to learn how to relax and be still. It’s a new experience for me. It’s taken years and many shifts to get to this place. And it’s becoming a self-care practice that I really enjoy. For the ...

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As July draws near, it is moving day in medicine. For physicians, it signifies moving into the next level of professional growth. Let’s think about what moving entails.  When we move from one physical location to the next, like into a new apartment or from one city, state, or country to another one, there is the process of sorting through our belongings.  We make two lists: what stays and moves with ...

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Doctors are life long learners. The feedback to read more is often heard by medical students and residents in their quest to acquire the knowledge to understand health and disease processes and direct patient care. With so many demands on a resident and early career physician’s time, how do you make the most of the directive to read more? During residency training and throughout your medical career, the patient case mix ...

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A doctor’s life is a life of service to others. In today’s medical arena that service goes beyond patient care.  As early as residency training, doctors have to learn how to navigate their workflow and the energy of nurses and other team members involved in the delivery of patient care. Doctors assume administrative roles and have to effectively manage their time between meetings and patient care.  It’s easy to understand ...

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The seeds of emotional turmoil inherent in medical education are planted early in the pursuit of becoming a doctor. It is the unspoken fear that medical students and residents experience each day on attending rounds.  It is the worry of missing a vital piece of information from the history and physical exam of a patient. It’s the concern, that despite reading and preparing for the cases, emerging physicians may find ...

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I sat across the table from my physician client and listened to her story. She asks, “How can it be that after four years of medical school and three years of residency training in my chosen field I feel so disillusioned and disconnected?" Instead of seeing the excitement of starting a new chapter in her career or even acknowledging some trepidation about becoming an attending with the increasing pressures of this ...

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Medicine was my path. I’d decided that early in life before I knew what a career in medicine really looked like. I believed as a doctor I could help people and have a positive impact in their lives. After all, what does a teenager know about being a doctor? I’m not a teenager anymore. Here I am at 3 a.m. in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the bedside of ...

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There comes a time in a doctor’s medical career when the demands of caring for patients is too much. To survive medicine, doctors put on armor so we can go into the battlefield of medicine and do the work we do. The armor is the walls and barriers we erect to maintain a safe distance from all that comes at us in the line of duty. Our armor may take ...

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We don’t talk much about passion in medicine anymore. What is your passion in medicine?  What was it that sparked your initial desire to pursue this career instead of another?  What is the impact you are called to make as a doctor? I was speaking with a friend who is not in medicine and asked why he picked his chosen field.  He is knowledgeable and skilled at many different things.  He admitted ...

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There is a lot of discussion about what to do about physician burnout. The conversation includes debates on the actual incidence of burnout, why it varies among specialties and work environments, who is responsible for it and what can be done to combat it. For the physician who is on the front line, experiencing the disconnection and disillusionment with a career they spent most of their life preparing for, what matters ...

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As the holidays approach, this time of year can be filled with mixed emotions for high achieving medical professionals who find themselves in the hospital, clinics, and practices caring for patients instead of spending time with loved ones.  It can be more hectic than ever as doctors try to be all things to family and friends while still carrying a full patient load. Personally, I learned the hard way that this ...

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Doctors spend their early adulthood preparing for medicine. In college, we take classes to satisfy prerequisites and prepare for the MCAT exam.  Medical school has a life of its own. The volume of material to master is extensive, and the pressure mounts to be your best.  Next is the interview process for residency training and the anticipation of Match Day. Then life will begin. Maybe? Now you are in your late 20s ...

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