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Nursing Survival Tips For Snow Days At The Hospital

These young ladies are prancing back to their nursing dormitory after a snowstorm. They look really happy to finally make their exit from the hospital. I identify with these girls because I got snowed in at my hospital for eight days last week. It was tedious, but I used my time constructively. I studied human nature.

People go through three phases when a snowstorm starts bearing down. The first phase is giddiness. I saw at lot of people become gleeful when the first snowflakes started hitting the sidewalk. They became delusional and said things like, “Look at the snow. It’s so beautiful!” People, snow is NOT beautiful. It is wet and cold. No one enjoys digging their car out from a five-foot snowdrift.

The next phase of a snowstorm involves a strange survival instinct that compels people to rush to their local grocery store and buy copious amounts of milk, toilet paper, and comfort food like corn chips. I’ve never been about to understand this phenomenon, but I’m sure that grocery store chains love it. Panic in the air indicates that people are entering into the final phase of their snowstorm response. The snowstorm is in full gear and everyone wants to leave work and go home. The walls start closing in, and those with a lesser constitution make a break for the door. I understand that some people can’t deal with their claustrophobia, but please don’t yell, “You can reach me on my Blackberry,” as you run out the door. That just makes you look pathetic. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

Why Snowstorms May Be Good For Your Health

It is 4 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon in February, and I’m sitting in a chair with a laptop computer warming my thighs like an obedient lapdog. I’m swaddled in a cozy bathrobe. My feet are toasty warm inside slippers as I sip hot tea with honey. I’ve raised the blinds on the windows, and as I watch the wet snow swirling sideways in a chaotic display of white, I can’t help feeling giddy that work was cancelled today. I have an overall sense of unproductive euphoria as the gears and pistons of capitalism freeze over. Could blizzards be good for health?

On a normal day I would be 30-40 minutes late seeing patients by now. I would have a dull headache from concentrating all day on hundreds of problems, symptoms, and questions, and my blood pressure would be about 135/84, pulse 89.  But the white flakes of water drifting on the winds seem weightless, elemental, and self-sufficient. They certainly have no interest in me as I enjoy their infinite procession. I estimate my blood pressure is 108/72, pulse 61. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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