You’ve probably heard this story before: a young physician, who has spent all of his or her life succeeding and building goals, stumbles into a career without meaning or enthusiasm. Indeed, my story about burnout is much like the rest. Like so many before me, I entered into a career in medicine motivated and eager to change the world through the care of my patients. I grew up in a family ...

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A resident suffering from depression drinks too much and sleeps through a hospital shift the next morning. Another resident walks out of a patient room in the midst of a panic attack. As family medicine educators, how do we best handle these health concerns in our residents? The pendulum in medical training can swing in two directions. At one end, residents are indoctrinated into a macho mentality, where the need for self-care ...

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It’s every emergency resident’s dream to be part of a big procedure: The rush of a heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled moment of slamming in a chest tube, "criching" someone or being part of the big show — a thoracotomy. The holy grail. Cracking a chest, performing intracardiac massage, cross-clamping the aorta. A last-ditch effort to pull a patient away from the clutches of the grim reaper. A typical level-one center hums to ...

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Do you want your surgeon to work back-to-back overnight 12-hour shifts and then perform brain surgery on you the next morning? There’s currently no regulation prohibiting this kind of dangerous scheduling in medicine. Physicians are human. Like truck drivers or airline pilots, their fatigue can lead to dangerous consequences for those around them. A recent study showed that even mild sleep deprivation causes the same levels of impairment ...

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“I lift things up and put them down.” This quote is from a commercial for Planet Fitness I have seen in the past. It portrays a bulky body builder on a tour of the gym premises. There is no real communication with the tour guide since he keeps saying that he lifts things up and puts them down, irrespective of what the tour ...

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College → medical school → residency → fellowship. The journey to becoming a doctor sometimes feels like climbing a never-ending ladder. The process started for me as an undergraduate when I was seventeen years old and will go on well into my thirties. I am still climbing. Each level of ascension is drastically different in both your skill set and responsibilities to your patients. The variation from one stage to ...

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How many times have you heard resident physicians say that they do not have time to exercise and get in shape? When looking at the numbers, it's hard to blame them. An 80-hour work week is enough to make anyone realize that time is a precious commodity. Take away six-to-eight hours for sleep each day, plus a couple of hours for eating, showering and studying, and you are left with approximately ...

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It’s that time of year again, the dreaded, yet exciting, residency application season. Year after year, we have learned that securing a residency position extends beyond competitive scores. It involves planning, networking and putting your best foot forward to prove you are the perfect “match” for a program. To avoid having shock and stress of an unexpected scramble, we wanted to share five tips, which extend beyond some of the ...

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My intern gazed blankly at her notes from the day. “You OK?” I asked. Her face was quivering with restrained tears as she turned to me, “I don’t think I helped anyone today.” This was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, that I had heard those words from a resident physician. Medical training is no joy ride. How could it be? First, there is the intellectual challenge of ...

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As an attending and educator, I give a lecture to the residents each year about stroke syndromes.  In the lecture, I use mnemonics, pictures, and associations, so that the trainees can retain the information in non-traditional ways and have fun learning what could be otherwise dull material.  When I talk about the internal carotid artery stroke syndromes, I bring up the possibility of “the good, the bad and the ugly” ...

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