Why do we want to become doctors? What was our main motivation that we have written in our motivation letters and repeated in our interviews? Regardless of the specific incident or the general motivation, it can be all summarized in one sentence: We are here to save lives. After all, this is what the physicians do, isn’t it? Preventing deaths is actually hinted to by the original Hippocratic Oath, written between ...

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Here’s some advice for your career in health care: Leave the country as soon as possible. This has nothing to do with the president’s attempts to euthanize the Affordable Care Act. Or with EMRs, Medicare reimbursements, or the burnout surveys you get from your employer, who also sends emails aimed at getting you to work faster and more efficiently. It’s none of that. You need to leave the country, just for a ...

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When looking at why we as an industry have been largely unsuccessful in combating the epidemic of burnout that is plaguing our community, we must deal with our approach to solutions. One of the biggest things to distinguish about burnout is that it’s not a problem to be solved.  It’s not a diagnosis to be made, and it’s not a condition to be treated. Burnout is a perplexity; a vicious cycle ...

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Do you know we have record rates of physician burnout, dissatisfaction, and suicide? Ongoing shortages in primary care, without improvement in sight? Physicians exiting medicine earlier  than in the past? What about burnout? Do you know it affects patients as well as their doctors? Affects physicians' families and friends? Increases mistakes and malpractice risk? Affects patient adherence and outcomes? Is costly to the entire system? How do we start to fix this? ...

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The practice of medicine is a lot like the practice of parenting. It is full of highs and lows, moments of pure joy and those of devastating heartache. When I talk to my friends who are parents, they agree with me. Some of the most difficult times as a parent is watching your kids fail. When your child is hurting, it hurts far worse than if you had experienced it first ...

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Prescription opioid abuse is one of the United States’ greatest public health challenges. Approximately 97.5 million Americans consume opioids annually, and around 90 people die every day from opioid overuse. The last time in recent history a health care crisis garnered this much public attention was following the release of the 1964 “Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health” correlating smoking to heart disease ...

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I have no business background: zero, zilch, nada. Growing up, I was the kid who bought the lemonade, not the one who set up shop on the busy street corner. My parents bought the cookie dough, coupon book and every other school fundraiser from the kid next door instead of their own child. Job interviews? Never had them. All the jobs I've ever had I got because I knew the ...

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"How did you know what to say to her?" asked the resident, "We have been trying to figure her out all morning and have gotten nowhere." An expression of mixed curiosity and frustration crossed her face. “I try not to focus on how she is acting, as much as I try to talk to the part of her Jesus would love,” I found myself answering. This catchphrase would find its way ...

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Earlier this week, one of the residents and I saw a new patient who apparently had been sent in to see us for a pre-op visit, an evaluation to make sure that her medical conditions were well controlled and that the surgery was safe for the surgeons to proceed with. She reported that she forgot the paperwork they gave her. All she knew was that whatever we wrote had to ...

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An excerpt from Worthy. “Breakfast ready? Bacon smells good!” Mark finished buttoning his shirt and joined Linda at the kitchen table. “I Googled funding for my clinic, but I didn’t find what I was looking for,” Linda said, filling their mugs with steaming coffee. “There has to be something out there for me!” She banged her fist on ...

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