Has a certain madness taken over medicine?
Does your blood pressure increase when you read healthcare acronyms?
EMR, ICD-10. ACA, SGR, HIPAA, PQRS…
Please step back. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes (OK you may have to keep them open to read) and remember when you filled out your medical school application.
What were your hopes? Your dreams? Your aspirations for saving individual lives, caring for your fellow human being, changing the world? Besides your MCATS, what did you write on that application that helped YOU make the cut? Some really smart people who knew the pressures of the profession examined you very closely and felt you had what it would take to endure all the crap-onymns you are dealing with now. They saw the youthful passion and idealism in your heart and they chose YOU.
Unfortunately, this very same passion and drive can sometimes get heated up and turn into medical madness when you deal with the complexities of our current healthcare environment. But anger can be redirected.
The Greek word for compassion comes from something you are familiar with: splagxnízomai – from splanxna, 'the inward parts,' especially what was once considered ‘the nobler entrails’ – the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. It means to be moved out of your innermost being and to be filled with (Latin cum) passion.
Could I encourage you right now to pause and make this choice with your passion?
Take everything you are mad (either crazy or angry) about that is wrong with your profession right now and convert that energy into com-passion for the patients you serve.
Your patients experience the same kinds of frustrations and pressures you do - and sometimes even more - just trying to make life and family work. Your connection with their challenges (i.e. empathy) makes you a better provider. Even something as simple as a non-clinical, meaningful touch on the shoulder or arm or a warm handshake when greeting them can communicate a caring heart. The practice of even small gestures like this can subtly breathe meaning back into your work that may have been lost over time.
Now, march forth (yes, I really did use that pun today) and care for the people around you with renewed vigor, connection, and perspective to make our community a healthier place.