History of Medicine

Can we have mentors we never meet?

The medical and literary world lost some of its soul last week with the passing of the physician writer Dr. Sherwin Nuland. With HM14 coming up, I planned for this blog post to write about the session I’m giving with Greg Maynard and Cheryl O’Malley on Mentoring Quality Improvement.  For those of us a number of years out of residency, quality improvement was likely not part of our training. In our session, we will discuss how being a mentor or mentee can help fill that knowledge deficit. That personal one-on-one mentoring can help in many other areas: fostering career growth, learning new skills, growing as a person and a physician. I never met Dr. Nuland, but reflecting on his passing made me think about mentoring in another light. Can we have mentors we never meet? I was fortunate to share an email conversation with Dr. Nuland a couple of years ago…

Pull off the BAND-AID

I walked into the office slowly.  It was my third year med school clerkship, I had learned a lot about basic outpatient medicine, prevention, focused exams, and seeing the joy in building relationships with patients.  However one of the most important lessons I had yet to learn. A middle-aged man sat in the exam room with shoulder pain.  He didn't have much in the way of other medical problems, so I honed in on the shoulder.  I practiced all my maneuvers from my physical diagnosis course: empty beer can, range of motion, compare and contrast to the other shoulder. I didn’t find much of anything.  So I started to walk out the room to discuss with my attending.  I grabbed the door handle, then turned around and I asked him, "Oh, by the way, what's with the BAND-AID over your eye?" One of my favorite parables is from the book…

Down the Vegas Rabbit Hole: SHM in Wonderland

"Curiouser and curiouser." Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, 1st printing 1864 It’s time to think about Vegas. A line spoken by many a bachelor, gambler, Rat Pack aficionado, or Cirque du Soleil fan. And now it is what you, our favorite SHM member, are thinking about. The glitz and glam of Las Vegas await and here are the daily questions you ask in anticipation. Which featured speakers will dazzle me? Will Wellikson perform magic tricks during the presidential address? Did I hear Wachter might toss chainsaws while juggling patient safety, cost cutting, and quality? Do I watch Britney Spears or the update on hospital medicine? Here’s where I convince you that it will be worth stopping by the quality track talks while taking you down the rabbit hole known as Las Vegas. SHM’s HQPS committee helped put together an exciting,  quality set list. The stage is set for some great performances…

HQPS, Vampires, and Hospitalism

"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a Hospital that it should do the sick no harm." - Florence Nightingale, Notes on Hospitals [caption id="attachment_9490" align="alignright" width="241"] Simpson, an obstetrician from Edinburgh, was the first to write about hospitalism. From Wikipedia Commons[/caption] The patient appeared comfortable in her ER bed. Too comfortable for an admission. Why admit an elderly woman, cancer patient at that, with normal labs, normal vital signs (except the fever) and probably a viral infection?  Being in the hospital isn’t always a silver bullet. “I have good news.  I think you can go home.” “My family already left, no one can take me home.” “Oh, ok. I’ll be happy to help arrange a ride home.” “Well, that nice woman said I had to stay, and that I would see an infection specialist, and I needed a CAT scan of my entire body,  and I would get a…
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