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Physician Burnout: Doctors And Patients Deserve Better

A new patient recently said he was referred to me after his last doctor had left medicine. His old doctor always looked unhappy and burned out, he noted.

Burnout affects more than half of doctors, according to researchers at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Beyond mere job dissatisfaction, these doctors are emotionally exhausted to the point where they lose focus. They tend to be more depressed — perhaps one reason why doctors have a higher suicide rate than the general population.

While burnout can happen in any profession, the performance of stressed-out doctors can hurt someone else: Patients. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Box-Top Board Certification For Doctors

Remember when you were a child and an offer to be a member of a special spy club appeared on your morning cereal box? You knew — yes, KNEW — that the offer was the real deal. All you had to do is send in 3 cereal box tops and you’d be sent all the prerequisite items. Of course, when the plastic trinkets arrived weeks later, there always seemed to be the air of buzzkill when the reality of what you received for your efforts was revealed.

This could never happen with board certification for doctors, could it?

Yesterday we learned that this year every specialist has to recertify to maintain their status as a board-certified specialist. In the past, this was a voluntary process that doctors participated in to show a jury of their peers that they had the right stuff to practice medicine at the highest level possible. It was a respected term. Doctors generally knew that a board-certified specialist meant something.

Even though doctors pay thousands of dollars to the American Board of Internal Medicine for the opportunity to study for and take the certification exam, once passed doctors were proud to hang that certificate on their wall. In effect, it is the crowning achievement of one’s career.

But what if that certificate on the wall had the value of certificate purchased from a cereal box top spy club? Doctors might be pretty upset, right? Well guess what. Although the majority of those certificates hanging on the wall are the real deal, many are not. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

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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