What Lies Ahead in the Healthcare Industry

When you applied to medical school, you probably had an excellent answer to the question “why do I want to become a doctor?” If that answer is still valid for you today, when you are ready to embrace healthcare as your career, you should know the road ahead is not always a smooth sailing through a field of roses. There are plenty of challenges ahead, and today we will look at some of them to keep you prepared for the future.

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Ending Premed Naivety: Understanding the Realities of a Medical Career

The only real recollections I have of visiting the hospital before college were once as a child undergoing a tonsillectomy and once as a preteen to visit my newborn cousin. Fast forward ten years or so and suddenly I was a freshman in college shadowing a medical professional and trying to decide if I wanted to commit the rest of my life to medicine. It was the first time I really saw medicine for what it was, and it was nothing like I had imagined.
As someone without any relatives or close acquaintances in a health profession, I grew up with a lot of misconceptions about medicine as a career. Like many of you, I will be the first in my family to attend medical school. On many fronts, I have had to discard my preconceived notions about medicine for an understanding borne of proximity and experience. Before beginning the premed journey, I was blissfully unaware of two components of the medical field: the realities of daily work and the lifestyle demands.

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Medical Students and Mental Health

Mental health is a topic which is discussed more openly in our society in recent decades and is, slowly, become less stigmatized. This, ironically, does not seem to be the case when it comes to the issue of mental health problems among medical students. The nature of medical school, and attitudes of medical students themselves, can set up barriers between students who need help and the programs that can help them. This article looks at the widespread nature of this problem in American and overseas medical schools, and also what can be done to help solve it.

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It’s Real: The Sophomore Slump

Chronicles of a Med Student

I strolled into second year, fresh off the plane from my South American adventures and ready to hit the ground running, expecting another experience like first year. It would be smooth sailing as long as I stuck to my schedule and my friends. I was good to go. Little did I know, the “second year slump” was about to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never before experienced such a feeling in my life—I was accustomed to challenges, pushing through whatever stood in my way, always making it through to the other side. But to be honest, few things in my prior academic experiences have challenged me as much as medical school. Before medical school, most of the challenges I faced seemed far less daunting to me than what came in the second year of medical school, even the first year of medical school. So imagine my surprise when I found myself having my first meltdown of medical school just a few weeks into my second year: Wasn’t I supposed to be good at this by now?

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Physician Burnout: What It Is and Its Impact on Future Doctors

Physician burnout is a widely discussed topic among practicing physicians and public health researchers. Many studies have been done showing the implications of burnout on patient satisfaction, career satisfaction, and care outcomes. A few studies even try to measure the dollar cost of burnout to society. However, very few articles appear to address the impact of physician burnout on one very important demographic in medicine: future physicians. Future physicians, such as residents and medical students, are molded by the doctors who come before them. The prevalence of physician burnout is likely to affect the outlook future physicians have regarding their own careers and the possibility of them experiencing their own burnout as well.
Physician burnout in the United States is becoming more common. According to one recent study, roughly 45% of physicians reported feeling signs of burnout, an increase from 39% in a study conducted in 2013. Put another way, nearly 1 out of every 2 physicians has experienced burnout or will in the future.

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Book Review–Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician, by Dr. Sandeep Jauhar

book review doctored

“It is our obligation to remove the biases that stand in the way of good medicine. We need to assure no consideration of economic self-interest will prevent us from giving our patients the safest, most effective, and most economically responsible health care possible.” So spoke the president of the American College of Cardiology to a group of inductees in 2005. In the audience sat many young doctors, including Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, a New York cardiologist struggling with many aspects of the American healthcare system. The convocation speech is filled with platitudes such as this one, and virtually no doctor, especially at the outset of his/her training, would disagree with these sentiments. The struggle, writes Jauhar, is to actually make convocation speeches come to life. How do we keep these sentiments from just being banal and clichéd statements and instead enact them, creating a real impact in the way we practice medicine? This question and the effects of our failure to answer form a central theme in Jauhar’s memoir Doctored.

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Up in Smoke: The Challenges of Physician Burnout

The days are long, the nights short – unless you’re on call or night float, in which case that is reversed. Regardless of where you are in your training, whether in medical school or already out of residency, there will be days when it all just feels like too much. Too much work, too much emotional energy expended, too much illness. Too many petty tasks or meaningless phone calls or purposeless turf wars. Hopefully, those times will be few and far between, buoyed by the days where you make a tricky diagnosis, have an appreciative patient, or just get out of the hospital with daylight left and go for a run. However, for a significant number of physicians, these despondent days stack one atop the next, stretching into weeks where they feel to exhausted to invest energy in their patients, let alone themselves. These individuals are likely suffering from burnout.

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Emergency Medicine: Can a Sizzling Hot Specialty Burn You to a Crisp?

Emergency physicians experience burnout at a rate of more than three times that of the average doctor and more than anyone else inside or outside of the medical field, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (1). The study surveyed over 7000 physicians in more than two dozen specialties and compared them with almost 3500 working adults in fields outside of medicine. More than 65% of emergency physicians reported burnout, compared to 55% of internists (the next crispiest specialty), and 27.8% of the general population.

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