Practice of medicine: Six things to remember in your practice in 2019

There are small moments of reflection that pop up in any given day that can affect how we approach our practice of medicine.

Something at home affecting us at work, or vice versa.

It was a weekend, of course, or I wouldn’t have been home. I loaded the dirty clothes into the washer and reached up to the shelf for the detergent, when something new drew my focus.

Something that didn’t belong.

Then I peered closer, and read the words.

Remember the soap.

My irritation dissipated, and a smile played across my face.

In those three words, an entire story is told.

Now before you lose patience, and ask what on earth does laundry have to do with the practice of medicine, I promise, a point is coming.

We embark this month on a new year,

Here are a few:

  1. Don’t skip the first step.
  2. It’s okay to write yourself reminders (although I might suggest using the memo function on your smartphone rather than the Sharpie pen technique favored by my children).

I thought about how we might use this humble sentence as physicians. Here is what I came up with:

1. Remember the patient

(Please note, this means first and foremost that we practice patient-centered care, not insurance-centered care. See also #3).

2. Remember yourself

Two of my favorites are these:

  1. https://opmed.doximity.com/articles/we-don-t-need-self-care-we-need-boundaries
  2. https://www.statnews.com/2018/07/26/physicians-not-burning-out-they-are-suffering-moral-injury/

see also resources page

3. Remember the prior authorization

But the reality is the year 2018 saw an unprecedented rise in the need for the “prior authorization” to accomplish any care for our patients.

We, the physicians, need to continue to speak up about the delays in care and, in some cases, actual harm, these unnecessarily burdensome regulatory steps can cause.

see also my prior authorization help page

4. Remember the profession

5. Remember the art

6. Remember the mystery

In summary,

The practice of medicine without any one of these six things (well, with the exception of #3), is like doing the load of laundry without the soap — at first glance, it might look the same, but one whiff and we know the difference.

What’s your best advice or story from your practice? Remember the __________. How would you complete the sentence? Respond in the comments section. Can’t wait to learn from you!

Originally published at The Hopeful Cancer Doc.

Physician/writer. Essayist, published in NEJM, JAMA, JAMA Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and The ASCO Post. Doximity Op-Med Fellow.

Physician/writer. Essayist, published in NEJM, JAMA, JAMA Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and The ASCO Post. Doximity Op-Med Fellow.