In my recent post, "Why Gratitude Is A Superpower," I told the story about a thank you note that my daughter, Maya, left me one morning for making her coffee. I was literally overcome with warmth and appreciation. My reaction demonstrates the real impact we can have on another person's emotional state when we express gratitude — either verbally or written — for something (gift, assistance, help, ...

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Kahlil Gibran writes, "In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone." What types of outcomes can physicians and patients achieve in healing, living, and life when Gibran's message is incorporated into the physician-patient relationship? Can humanism in medicine become even more humanistic? "Humanism in medicine" is characterized by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation as respectful ...

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As we embark upon this new decade, many of us are committed to improving our finances. We may have vowed to stick to a budget or have a general goal to live below our means. While these are noble goals, let’s challenge ourselves to do even more. Here’s my six step-money challenge for 2020:

1. Buy 1 or 2 finance books to read. There are many different ways to ...

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If you asked me five years ago what my career goals were, I may have said something about getting more grant funding and writing more manuscripts so I could eventually become an independently funded physician-scientist. But honestly, at that time, I had no concept of the nitty-gritty details and emotional support that it would take to accomplish those goals. My primary research mentor was a notable figure in our field ...

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Experience and skills are not enough to assure the highest levels of success and sustainability with improvement initiatives in healthcare. The reason this is true has to do with ... quicksand. When I was a kid, quicksand seemed to show up in movies quite a bit. People would be on the beach or in the jungle walking on what seemed like solid ground and suddenly get stuck. In quicksand, you lose ...

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When I first saw Jea-Hyoun, in a medical meet-cute straight out of a romantic comedy, she was being evaluated for thyroid cancer. I was an allergy/immunology fellow harried by a pile of paperwork. She was a patient, in the same building where she saw patients of her own as a psychiatry and family practice resident, preparing to see the specialist. We made awkward small talk in the hallway before she ...

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Professional burnout is widely identified using the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which defines it along psychological lines: emotional exhaustion, a feeling of depersonalization and cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. Accordingly, the phenomenon of physician burnout is often framed as a personal problem to be solved by means of self-care. While this approach is undoubtedly helpful, it doesn't sufficiently address the structural factors that contribute to burnout in the first ...

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The start of a new decade seems more meaningful than the beginning of other new years. I tend to think more long-range at these mileposts. For 2020, I've made three resolutions that I hope will have a positive impact on my life for years to come: 1. Ramp up reading Starting now, I intend to consume more books on a regular basis. Crucial to meeting this goal will be diverting my gaze ...

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It’s OK to make mistakes in life.  That’s the only way to learn.  Hopefully, the major mistakes get made earlier in life so that we have less to lose and more time to “make up” for faltering. But hey, life wouldn’t be interesting if challenges aren’t presented to us.  Let’s look at ten of the common doctor financial blunders that have either happened to me or my coworkers: 1. Borrowing too ...

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What is your greatest asset?  Your ability to earn.  It takes an intelligent, highly motivated, and committed individual to invest over a decade in education and training, combined with a mortgage-sized student loan debt to become a physician. The investment made by a doctor in becoming an attending is unrivaled by any other profession. Most physicians perform procedures, interventions, and surgeries using fine motor skills.  It takes very little to compromise that ...

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It’s been liberating and eye-opening and sometimes a pain to have all three of my kids in grade school. The benefits of one drop off and not paying for daycare do outweigh the downside of figuring out what to do with the kids when they have days off. Usually, I plan my schedule accordingly, but I still have to fit in the requisite number of shifts for my ...

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The physician burnout crisis and a national provider shortage have fueled a growing trend in health technology focused on better utilizing physicians and reducing administrative burdens. I became a surgeon because I wanted to help people, not because I had a strong desire to push paper. The high volume of administrative tasks increasingly consumes a physician's time that could be better spent with patients. For example, primary care physicians
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1. Increase retirement investments. As young professionals who will eventually retire or cut back on work at some point, we need to start investing in our future. While many of us may already have started setting aside money for retirement, others of us may not have begun that process. In 2020, let’s strive to do even more. Let’s commit to increasing our retirement savings, even if it’s by a small ...

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Eighteen months out of residency and into outpatient psychiatry private practice, for the first time since before medical school, I'm coming home actually feeling a surplus of energy to put into my life outside of clinical practice. Sure, I did my best to maintain my interests and relationships during my training, but doing so felt like trying to wring blood from a stone. A slight sense of boredom in the evening, ...

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School has gotten back into full swing, and thus we begin another cycle. Will this cycle be better than the last? Every year we find ourselves in this same spot. Summer’s over, big vacations are in the bag, back to school shopping is complete, and we start recovering from our summer spending. We often haven’t yet recovered from the summer splurges before it’s time to start Christmas shopping. Then we begin ...

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I found this note waiting for me this morning in the kitchen.

It was from my daughter, who is home for the holiday week from New York. I made her a cup of coffee yesterday morning, and it was waiting for her on the table when she woke up and meandered sleepily into the kitchen.

Seeing the warm and happy ...

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Would a Hippocratic Oath for health care executives make a difference? Probably not. Nonetheless, there is ample evidence that the organizational cultures of too many hospitals are not conducive to physician well-being. In a provocative blog posted on May 2, 2019, emergency medicine physician Mark Borden indicated a Hippocratic Oath was urgently needed for administrators. Dr. Borden wrote: "Physician employment was, and is, obviously an intrinsically flawed structure ...

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Here are eight things to do as a new attending that I didn’t learn as a resident (and wish I had). Establish a budget There are two times when a budget is a very important tool: when you are struggling financially and when you have a large income or expense change. Now that you have graduated to your new attending income, it’s important to intentionally decide how you will invest, save, pay ...

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Why do you need professional advisors? If you were the CEO of a company pulling in $15 million in top-line revenue, you wouldn't be managing that organization by yourself, right? You'd have a team of trusted professional advisors in your "C-suite" to help you manage the business. You would have a director of human resources, a chief operations officer, a chief financial officer, and probably ten other people to manage different parts ...

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Advancements in technology have blurred the lines between work and home life. This is because modern technology, such as the smartphone has made it easier for others to reach us. Time and location no longer serve as barriers. It is not uncommon for work-related matters to reach us via email or text after hours. People are continuing their work from home rather than enjoying precious time with loved ones. Physicians are ...

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