Saturday, January 14, 2012

Balance in residency (training after medical school) leads to bettter balance in life

"In the old days, anyone who wanted to go into medicine had to be prepared for a life of exhaustion. Before laws and regulations prohibited being on call every other night, we were rapidly conditioned to accept the idea that the life of a doctor was not only one of service, but a kind of servitude. In the first year of residency, the fledging doctor learns never to leave work for anyone else at the end of the day." Dr. James Gordon

"The biggest changes have been driven by the new rules on resident work hours and their rigid enforcement. Every resident now has an invisible but heavy stopwatch sitting on their shoulder, ticking loudly, constantly reminding them that their task list still has many unchecked items as time slips away (so it's often necessary to now sign out work to an on-call colleague)." Dr. Michael B. Edmond

"There are advantages to this new paradigm. It reduces the House of God attitudes I saw in medical school and that will benefit patients. It will also benefit physicians as we balance our professional and personal lives. Personally, I'm comfortable being cared for by a doctor from the older generation, whose commitment was evident in his long hours, as long as those excessive hours haven't spawned burnout, substance abuse, or divorce-all of which could negatively impact my care." Dr. Powell

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