Medicine is a difficult calling. You already know the sacrifices. As an undergraduate, you gave up time with friends and family so you could be accepted into medical school — where you worked even harder. You understand that the practice of medicine requires you to take responsibility for the care of others ... and the emotional toll that comes with it. In this profession, it's easy to feel like you're alone. Our ...

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The elevator area on the ground floor of our hospital is split. As you enter, the common elevators are on the left, and to the right is a set of double doors, with a sign posted reading, “AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.” And behind those doors are the employee elevators, elevators for hospital beds, and large elevators where we can run a code while traveling up or down. The employee elevators are private, ...

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An excerpt from Health Design Thinking: Creating Products and Services for Better Health. Design is the ancient practice of shaping materials to achieve goals and express beliefs. Human beings and other creatures make tools and build structures in order to survive, thrive, and dominate their surroundings. Unlike ...

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Recently, I made a doctor's appointment with a new physician at a different hospital system. During my last encounter with our family's primary care doctor, his angry, unprofessional and unnerving behavior not only scared me at the time — it scared me away for good. So forced to navigate away from crazy — I found myself with this new doctor. Upon entering the front door of the new medical center, I ...

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I can smell the wafting aroma of frying onions and tomatoes as I am upstairs, just waking for the day. I am 10 years old, and these aromas are the staple of my childhood. It brings back memories of home. I walk downstairs and see my dad stirring the tomatoes and onions in the frying pan, dancing and singing: "I am cooking for my kid!" "Kid" is the term he ...

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I'm breaking up with you. I fell in love with you when I was just a child sitting in my grandfather’s family practice office. He put that magical white coat on me, sat me at his desk, welcomed in my first patient, and I was smitten. I grew up playing medical guessing games with him and his best friend, the town surgeon. They told stories of home visits, generations of families they ...

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Student G.M is a 228. When she came to our school, she was a 31. When she went to college, she was a 1270. Now we must make this number a caring, feeling person who has the empathy to impact the lives of patients for decades. Makes sense, right? Wrong! I played basketball in college — intramural. I was not bad, but I was not good. I liked to go to the gym ...

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He was a logical man. A northeast Ohio man. Who worked all his life and worked hard. I can see it in his hands. They are entirely calloused with traces of grease impervious even to pumice soap. A family man. His wife and sons and daughters are at bedside. And proud grandson, just a man, not dry-eyed, stands in the corner, in his college jacket, the spitting image of his bedridden ...

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In 2019, residents organized coast-to-coast to protest low pay, unsafe working conditions, and insufficient benefits. Residents at the University of Washington and UCLA walked out of the hospital in reaction to stalled contract negotiations. Residents at Yale interrupted a meeting to introduce a "Resident and Fellow Bill of Rights," outlining basic rights such as ...

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I am a 57-year-old female physician, and I remember an incident that involved a cardiologist on the other end of the phone, roughly fifteen years ago. I had recently started work as a hospitalist, and the cardiologist and I had never met. He clearly didn’t pay attention to my introduction, because when he heard my female voice calling from one the hospital floors to tell him that the twenty-seven-year-old patient ...

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In medical school, I was taught to sit down at eye-level when speaking to a patient, ask them how they'd prefer to be addressed, make sure to ask questions in an open-ended manner to allow patients to express themselves, and interject with "that must be really difficult for you" or "I can only imagine how that makes you feel," as a way to show empathy and foster better connection with ...

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A radical change is emerging from within our health care system: Rather than deny or defend medical errors, some hospitals are acknowledging them upfront. This enlightened response has been gaining ground since 2001 when the University of Michigan Hospital introduced one of the first medical error disclosure programs: the Michigan Model. Hospitals that adopt the model also promise to explain why the error occurred, apologize, offer fair compensation, and learn from ...

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Just to give you my background, I manage a large hospitalist program for a busy downtown community hospital that is part of a large health system consisting of a total of 29 acute care hospitals in the same geographical area. One of the reasons why our team was hired recently to manage this hospitalist program was to change the existing work culture, which had resulted in poor team performance, low physician ...

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In medical school, physicians learn how to diagnose and treat medical conditions. We learn about all the different presentations and revel in catching a complex or rare diagnosis. In essence, we learn to categorize disorders based on a cluster of symptoms and match them with appropriate treatment plans. Of course, you want this quality in your physician. This system works well until you enter independent practice and learn quickly that patients ...

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As a child, when I first read The Little Prince and saw the picture of the boa constrictor swallowing an elephant, I would often ponder what it felt like to be the elephant. Later in seventh-grade science class, when I learned of amoebae and how they surround and digest neighboring life forms for their sustenance, the same wonder followed. Enlightenment to what it feels like to be subsumed came to ...

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I work for a hospital network with the world's slowest computers.  I timed it: Last shift, it took me fifteen minutes to log on. The first computer obtained didn't function at all.  It had been worked on the day before by information technology services (IT). Efficiency and time management appear to be amongst top priorities in medicine. "Did they get their aspirin 24 hours after getting their clot-busting drug after cleared ...

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About three months ago, something awful happened. The oncology nurse practitioner (NP) whom I trained for the past two years in my subspecialty decided to seek employment elsewhere in order to have a more flexible work schedule. My team and I lamented we had a going-away dinner to say thank you for her work. And for the next three months, I trudged through my days in a busy oncology clinic, seeing ...

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If you or a loved one has ever been hospitalized, by day two or three of your hospital stay, you likely remember the doctor visiting you every day but not staying more than seven or eight minutes or 10 to 15 minutes max. It may have felt like he or she was just "dropping by and laying eyes on you." A month or two later, you get a bill with the ...

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I believe in the practice of medicine and enjoy teaching others this amazing art.  However, after experiencing nine months of interactions through medicine as the daughter of a sick patient, I struggle with my pride in the profession and fear of the health care system. My mother would proudly tell all her physicians that her daughter was a doctor. I knew she was proud, but I didn’t believe in using my ...

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Every day we get bombarded in the news with health statistics. Coffee causes cancer! Coffee cures cancer! And so on. Many of these are meant to grab headlines (and, these days, web page clicks), and the articles they accompany are often very poor at telling the reader what they mean. They often have statistics, and health statistics can be complicated. Sad to say, even many physicians are pretty poor and ...

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