Saying Goodbye to a Patient | Larry Puls, MD
I stand at the door—afraid. Take a deep breath. Just another room; one I have been in a thousand times before. Inside a bed, a bathroom, an IV pole, a friend. And while I stand there, my angst grows over the unrevealed information. Still frozen in the hallway, I cannot reach out and touch the door handle. You have to go in.
How much is too much? | Linda R. Duska, MD, MPH
I have a habit of over-committing at work. I thrive on new opportunities, love learning new things, and appreciate being asked to lead or contribute. And like many of us, I was raised in an environment in which hard work and over-extension were most valued. I have always wanted to be that person who agrees to add another patient to an already over-full clinic, performs the most surgeries, enrolls the most patients onto clinical trials. Competitive much?
The Courage to Leave | Stephen L. Rose, MD
It was 4:00 p.m. My cases had finished early on a Monday and I was trying to catch up on the roughly 100 emails that had come in that day. I was still tired from a busy weekend of call, and it made focusing on anything difficult. As I read the same sentence six times over, I felt the sun on my back through my window. It was a beautiful spring day in Madison. There was no rain or wind and I knew there were still many hours of daylight. On a whim, I texted my friend Brian, who works in marketing at a local appliance company.
Things aren’t going to get ‘better’ | Nathalie Dauphin McKenzie, MD, MSPH
Are you waiting for the “right” time to start a new wellness regime? What IS the right time? Consider that things aren’t going to get “better” any time soon. Instead, accept that the time is now! I agree that we are all busy–trust me–I get it! In between writing this blog, I will edit some publications, review some clinical trial protocols, fill out a 100-page application pertaining to the fellowship of which I am the director; plan my children’s numerous extracurricular activities, surgical cases, clinic, manage chemo patients, and a plethora of the administrative and personal things that we all have to do—so I get it!
Wellness found in a mentor relationship | Leigh Cantrell, MD, MSPH
Seven years ago I joined the faculty of the University of Virginia. Fresh out of fellowship, I was assigned a mentor within my department–someone to help me settle in, learn the ropes and culture and ensure that I worked towards accomplishing all of the tasks needed for promotion. While that mentor was wonderful, it was an artificial relationship. It is the mentor that I gained by chance who has promoted my wellness and helped me deal with burnout. Many colleagues have questioned how a hand surgeon could mentor a gynecologist oncologist and I can’t explain it, but I know it works.
Turning off the Tech |Taylor Turner, MD
I turned off all the notifications on my iPhone—except texts and voicemails. For those of you who sleep at night with 3,000 unread emails, it may not help. But for the rest of us, it makes a difference. I worried about new emails, or what else I missed. Was something urgent sitting in my inbox? I got used to it, and now I read my email when I want to read email.
The Art of Saying ‘NO’ | Kimberly Resnick, MD
Ping. Ping. Ping. The invitations come pouring into my calendar—a meeting, a committee, a conference call. My spouse groans as I accept another commitment. I am the Division Director, Associate Residency Director, swim team mom and first grade room parent. I find my mind flooded with thoughts of swim meet snacks as I prepare the residents’ complicated master schedule.
From Pathology to Positivity | Monica Hagan Vetter, MD
“The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life.”
–Martin Seligman, PhD, founder of the field of Positive Psychology
Wellness and cultural change | Shannon MacLaughlan David, MD
The SGO’s 48th Annual Meeting showcased wellness in a multidisciplinary way. A plenary session showed us the impact of burnout on productivity. We learned from a hematologist-oncologist about resilience and career fit. A social worker taught us about managing our energy, and we were reminded by a Navy Seal that medicine is, in fact, a team sport.
The Myth of ‘Effortless Perfection’ | Brittany Davidson, MD
I had a healthy fear of GYN/ONC fellowship when I started. My OB/GYN residency wasn’t one I would particularly designate as “onc-heavy” and, while I loved taking care of the oncology patients, I worried whether I would be happy or capable of doing so on a full-time basis. I worried about whether my surgical skills would be up to snuff, whether my attendings would regret ranking me, whether I was emotionally capable to provide these women with the care they needed during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. What can I say; I worried.