I learn all manner of interesting things from the information sheets posted on the walls of the employee bathrooms at my hospital. I learn, for example, about upcoming CME offerings for advance practice providers, how many seconds one has to scrub the hub of a central line, and what the new process is when nurses need to call in sick. They call a specific phone number and state that they ...

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Being a hospitalized patient is perhaps one of the most disempowering experiences an individual can face (besides being in war, or a prisoner). Patients face constant uncertainty; having no idea what time their physician will visit, when they will be taken for their tests, or who will suddenly interrupt them again with a demand - perhaps an early morning blood draw, or yet another round of interrogation and uncomfortable examination ...

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In 2002, when I began my first hospitalist job, I was a dyed-in-the-wool hospital medicine convert, convinced that the transfer of inpatient care to true specialists in hospital medicine (hospitalists) would dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of inpatient care, increase patient satisfaction and decrease costs. By 2008, I had developed serious doubts, which prompted me to publish an editorial in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, entitled “The Expanding or Shrinking ...

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Alvin is a 42-year-old man who was never really given a chance. His parents both had severe alcohol use disorder. At age 12, his parents encouraged him to skip school to sell marijuana in order to fund their drinking. As his parents began using various illicit drugs, Alvin started selling larger amounts of marijuana to foot their bill. Eventually, marijuana was not ...

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I have a theory. There is a simple thing hospitalists can do that can enhance relationships with our patients, and even, I bet, improve patient satisfaction scores. The catch is it is not something you can do for yourself; you can only “pay it forward” for somebody else. We know patients who trust their physicians are more likely to follow recommendations, and that trust and confidence in physicians probably ...

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For the last 8 years, I have worked as a locum tenens hospitalist. I began on this path when it was the least popular option upon graduation from residency. I did countless hours of research trying to find accurate information about locum tenens companies, but never found anything written by physicians, only by the companies themselves. So, I stepped into this field blindfolded and learned the hard way. Since then, I have ...

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I am a hospitalist at a safety-net hospital. Through my work, I have come to understand how our daily decisions — filtered through our own biases — influence how health care is implemented, and I had a personal teacher in my first year as an attending. Soon after starting my job, I met Mr. K. He was in his 40s, well-kempt, soft-spoken and had the good habit of looking people ...

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One of the things that can help a physician live a balanced life is finding ways to thrive in the workplace. This is currently a work in progress for me, but I am excited to share what I have learned so far. For some context, I was previously practicing as a nephrologist; and I transitioned to being a hospitalist on an as-needed basis to create flexibility in my schedule. This ...

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It has been a struggle to get out of my own way. I’m sure many of you have the same feeling. My health and well-being have suffered mightily from the stress of taking care of others in my work as a physician. I have not taken care of myself. Period. My career does not make me unique in this situation, as the patients I treat every day suffer from similar ...

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“We are playing the same sport, but a different game,” the wise, thoughtful emergency medicine attending physician once told me. “I am playing speed chess – I need to make a move quickly, or I lose – no matter what. My moves have to be right, but they don’t always necessarily need to be the optimal one. I am not always thinking five moves ahead. You guys [in internal medicine] ...

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