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Despite Her Demanding Work, This Nurse Is Glad She Never Threw In The Towel

Mark Lamers from Online Nursing contacted me for an interview. Mark, I’m flattered. People tell me that I give good interviews because I’m very opinionated. Mark asked some thought provoking questions and one of them really stood out. He asked me about something that I wrote on my blog a long time ago. The post read, “I was also taught that anyone willing to work long, hard hours could obtain the American Dream. I’m a nurse for life, which means I’m not going to retire. In other words, I’m going to die with my Nurse Mates on.” Mark asked, “At this point in your career, it is safe to say you’ve worked long hard hours as a compassionate caregiver. In retrospect, is that American Dream now your story? What would provide the happy ending? What were the necessary steps to get there?

Answer: Read more »

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

When A Vacation’s Not A Vacation

I just got back from extended time off, which brings to mind a post I wrote two years ago:

Here’s an observation: most physicians in private practice don’t take enough vacations. I am often (rightly) accused of this sin. My staff, colleagues, and even patients regularly encourage me to take time off, but still I find it hard.

Why is this? Is it that I love my job so much that I can’t tear myself away from it? Is it that my self-worth is wrapped up in being “the man” for my patients, and being away from this makes me feel insecure? Is work my addiction –- the one place that I have control of my circumstances and positive reinforcement? Perhaps. But I think the reasons are more basic than that. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

Dara Torres, Abdominal Muscles, And An Olympic Work Ethic

This week’s CBS Doc Dot Com features 42-year-old Dara Torres, who has been in five Olympics and won every kind of medal a swimmer can win. She juggles motherhood (her 3-year-old daughter, Tessa, is a gold medalist in being cute), a career, and philanthropy. And to top it off, as she proudly displayed during my interview with her, she has serious abs – world class.

But it wasn’t her abs that impressed me the most. Not nearly. It was the pride she took in her work. She understands that there’s no free lunch, that every one of her achievements has been paved by hard work and attention to detail.

I am always moved by a person who rolls up their sleeves, committed to doing a good job – whatever that job is. When I first started dating my wife, Kate, I took her to one of my favorite Italian restaurants. As we sat at our table, I suddenly saw her eyes well up with tears. She explained that she had been observing a bus boy carefully set a large, round table across from us. Seconds from finishing, he had noticed a small stain on the tablecloth. Rather than hide the spot by covering it up, he had painstakingly removed everything, replaced the tablecloth, and begun setting the table again. She was touched by his work ethic and I by her sensitivity and powers of observation.

Ponzi schemers may hog the headlines but I’ll bet most people still believe in the value of an honest day’s work.

Which brings us back to Dara Torres’ abdominal muscles. They didn’t just appear. She swims for two hours every morning and then does about seventy five minutes of core exercises. The take-home lesson from Dara Torres isn’t about her abs; it’s about the work ethic that lies beneath them.

Click here for the video of Dara Torres discussing how she’s kept fit physically and mentally after turning forty.

Click here for Dara’s blog about her priorities now that the World Championships are over.

Also check out her new book: “Age Is Just A Number“.

Learn how you could win a chance to meet Dara Torres in the “BP Younger for Longer Challenge.”

Watch CBS Videos Online

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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