No Man is an Island | Kathleen Essel, MD
Over the past year, I have had the distinct pleasure of attending three separate lectures on burnout. At the first lecture, I listened and tried to pay attention to the speaker, acutely aware of my own sleepiness and desire to be elsewhere. During the second lecture, I at least pretended to pay attention in an attempt to show that I wasn’t just there for the free fancy dinner. It wasn’t until the third lecture that I started to pay attention: The risk factors that predominate and are independently associated with burnout in almost every study ever conducted are younger age, long work hours and being female [Ann Surg 2009; 250: 463-71; J Am Coll Surg 2016;223:440]. As I sat listening to these numbers, it finally dawned on me: that’s me.
Saving the oncologist one step at a time: My wellness strategy | Nathalie McKenzie, MD, MSPH
I am a 14-year cancer survivor, the daughter of a cancer survivor and a mid-career gynecologic oncologist. I am therefore ever conscious of the fragility of human life. Yet, I have no fear. With grounded confidence all of us can adapt and persevere.
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.
Finding time to be balanced about wellness | Diljeet K. Singh, MD, DrPH
When I first learned about the benefits of a wellness approach, my autopilot applied it to my patients and trainees. And when the “practice what you preach” got loud enough in my head, I put it on my to-do list, and whined to myself, “Really? Not only am I supposed to be mindfully treating patients with expertise and compassion, skillfully using the most up-to-date approaches by reading and teaching, thereby curing, etc., but now I need to be Zen about it all?” And to have a healthier “work-life balance,” I need to spend less time doing it?
Continuous performance improvement | Marta Crispens, MD
The patient described here is fictitious, but is based on situations that we have all experienced.
Mrs. Smith is a delightful, 48-year old woman with stage IIIc high grade serous carcinoma of the ovary. She undergoes an optimal cytoreductive surgery, including modified posterior pelvic exenteration with low colon anastomosis. She is slender and healthy. The surgery goes well, except for some challenges with the colon anastomosis. In the end, it is airtight, and all seems well. She is discharged from the hospital quickly, but returns within 24 hours with a pelvic abscess due to a leak from her anastomosis.
Running on empty: using exercise to combat burnout | Leslie S. Bradford, MD
I used to be a runner.
For mile after mile, I would maintain a seven-minute mile pace, feeling the stress melting away. Hearing the rhythm of my feet hitting the road cleared my mind and put me in a sort of trance.
You get it. Perhaps you used to be a runner too–or a swimmer, or a cyclist. You were driven. You knew what it meant to feel pain and to keep going. Your sport taught you discipline and resilience. It pushed you to excel in your field.
But life happens.
Medicinal cannabis: The genie is out of the bottle | Christopher Lutman, MD
In 1996, Proposition 215 was passed by the citizens of California, which became the first state to legalize the usage of cannabis for medical purposes. Since that historic ballot measure, medicinal cannabis has now become legal in 23 states. It is also legal in the District of Columbia and the overseas territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.