Grand Rounds 3.20
The People Behind the Medicine
More than most other professions, medicine has the ability to devour all it touches. Those who enter the world of medicine as patients soon find it difficult to identify themselves beyond the confines of their label-- at least within the walls of the hospital. Those who enter into it as a career soon discover just how far-reaching a life in medicine is. Interests and relationships that once defined us as people too often take a backseat to the demands of medicine. Too easily we find that we lose sight of ourselves. We advise patients to rest, exercise, eat right, deal with stress, develop good coping mechanisms... and then we go home, order out, catch up on paperwork and try to fit in a few moments with our loved ones before catching a few hours of sleep.
Although I appreciate that not everyone enjoys 'themed' Grand Rounds, I thought it was about time that we acknowledged the people behind medicine for more than just their clinical expertise. Here are 30 submission that I thought conveyed that message in some way, regardless of how they chose to accomplish it.
The Medical Professional as a Professional
It is often a judgment call whether or not it can be therapeutic to let the line between professional and person blur in front of patients and their families. Joy, from My Own Private Soapbox examines the pros and cons of letting patients see past the professional veneer. It's not always pretty under there, and sometimes even the patients prefer to stay distant from the realities of medicine. Not so in the case of Susan Palwick, a volunteer hospital chaplain at 'Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good'. She blogs about the fact that she freely shares pieces of her own medical history to make a connection with the patients she counsels. Vitamin K also reminds us that when we take our work home with us, sometimes it's for the greater good.
Sandra Miller from 'A Shot in the Dark' recounts the tale of a particularly difficult experience with the health care system and how she believes that a little less 'professionalism' from the people involved might have made it a little more bearable. One woman (and frequent patient) from 'Tales of my Thirties' finds herself wondering how the doctors in her life end up in the specialties they choose.
Dr. Scott at Just Practicing reflects on why he chose to keep his blogging persona anonymous, and maintain that imaginary line between the person and the physician he plays at work.
Rita at MSSPNexus Blog talks about her favorite boss and what qualities made her special.
The Medical Professional as Patient
The quickest way to see our world from the other side of the fence is to be forced to experience it firsthand. Over at Protect The Airway, an RN wonders what is bringing on his runs of symptomatic PVC's. Dr. Dork tells a tale of some unseemly side effects experienced when the doctor becomes the patient. More on the subject of the professional as patient comes from Diabetes Mine in the form of an interview with Gary Scheiner, an accomplished diabetes educator and long-time diabetic. Kim at Emergiblog takes it one step further with memories of a time when she straddled the line between nurse and patient (or rather, patient's mom) until someone gave her permission NOT to be a nurse this time.
The Medical Professional as Parent
Role strain is almost inevitable when the health professional becomes a parent. Caring for others as a profession often takes on a whole new dimension when you're trying to balance it with caring for a child. Geena at 'Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse' lets us in on her inner struggle to find balance between her identity as a nurse and her new role as a mom. In a similar post by MSG at 'Creating the Godcomplex', he attends a c-section that brings back powerful memories of his own daughter's birth. Moreena at 'The Wait and Wonder' shares a moving story about caring for her daughter under the watch of the untouchable PICU nurse-- until the strain pushes them both to emotional breakdown.
The Medical Professional as an Emotional Being
Yup-- they have feelings too. Nick Jacobs from 'Hospital Impact' waxes philosophic on the subject of emotional attachment-- something that we, as medical professionals, occasionally take too lightly. Wyatt at 'Foggy Bottom Lantern' explores playing favorites among the patients have touched him throughout his career. Nurse Ratched recalls a patient who touched her life almost as much as she touched his-- and reminded her in many ways why she became a nurse in the first place.
The Medical Professional With Outside Interests
The quest to find balance in a life dominated by medicine lead me to unearth some interesting hobbies and interests in my fellow medical bloggers. At 'Universal Health', N=1 talks about one of his (her?) non-medical obsessions-- along with a nice reminder that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously. This is GirlVet's strategy too-- at 'Madness: Takes of an Emergency Nurse' she claims that it's her warped sense of humor that keeps her coming back to the ER. And she's not the only one-- it seems that finding humor in bizarre situations is a common thread among those of us drawn to the ER (GruntDoc being a good example).
For those of us without the warped funny bone, George finds solace outside of the OR with his travels and for those of us living vicariously through the travels of others, provides many photos. Liana from Med Valley High discovers that not only does climbing make her well-rounded, the skills she learns while climbing aren't that different from the ones she learns in medicine. Don't worry, Liana-- I haven't started my CCFP review yet either!
The Medical Professional as a Spiritual Being
Big Mama Doc reminds us over at 'Fat Doctor' that a few moments in patient-lead prayer might be more therapeutic than any other intervention we have to offer. While many of us might be uncomfortable with the idea, it only takes minimal effort on our part to ask about our patient's spiritual needs-- particularly in the face of serious illness or major surgery. Dr. Wes has also had a recent lesson in link between medicine and divine intervention that might have made him just a little more of a believer. Even if you don't consider yourself religious, these posts are food for thought.
The next generation of medical professionals are still trying to figure out if they can avoid allowing medicine to overtake them. Topher at 'The Rumors Were True' acknowledges that while he's striving to find balance as a medical student, at times he fails miserably. Over at 'FIFE-me', A Girl looks with wonder at her accomplished medical school classmates and wonders how long she'll be able to juggle all of the balls she has in the air. On a lighter note, Clerk at 'A Cure for Hiccups' explains why the desire to settle down and find a wife isn't just on the minds of the men in her class. Finally one of my new favorite bloggers, Vitum Medicinus, reminds us all that tact and empathy really can't be taught-- particularly to medical students.
This week's Editor's Pick goes to TC at Donorcycle-- she gives a heartbreaking minute-by-minute account of what transpires when a child dies. She managed to tell a terrible story in an incredibly sensitive manner and reminded me that no matter how 'professional' I become, I don't ever want to lose the ability to cry.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit. Have a great week!
Labels: grand rounds