Mental Health Can Affect Your Job Performance

Wildgoose undertook a survey to examine employees at 250 businesses across the UK and revealed that there is still a substantial stigma surrounding mental health at work. Of those surveyed who have taken a day off work, just under half admitted to calling in sick with a different complaint to the one they were actually suffering with. When compared with the responses of those who haven’t taken a day off work, 43% indicated that they would say nothing and carry on as normal if faced with mental health issues, whilst 4% stated they would call in with a different issue. NHS mental health nurse, psychotherapist and podcaster, Aimee Leigh suggests: “To combat stress, one must learn to be present and grounded in their bodies, through the use of the senses. “Developing a practice of mindfulness helps the mind become resilient. Managing stress by training the mind to focus on one point for sustained periods of time stops the mind fluctuating, racing and catastrophizing. “When a person isn’t caught up in their thoughts, they’re more able to be focused and productive. They’re also less emotionally reactive and more proactive, productive and efficient. “Higher priorities need to be placed on supporting staff emotionally in the workplace, with more education for staff around taking responsibility for their health and well-being.” The survey also highlights differences in absence across various groups and demographics. On average, women...

Why I Didn’t Do Family Medicine

Family Medicine might have been a better choice for me. I liked outpatient medicine much better than inpatient medicine. I like procedures, even pap smears. The hours are generally regular. Several people suggested family medicine as a good choice for me. Here’s why I decided against it: 1) Family medicine is very regional. In some parts of the country, many of the docs are family practitioners. In other parts of the country, there are few and they are not well respected. I trained in an area of the country where family medicine was not as common. Our family med sub-I was a disorganized joke. Almost all the people in my med school class who were interested in primary care did internal medicine or primary care residencies. Only a couple of people matched in Family Medicine. 2) I never wanted to deliver another baby for the rest of my life. 3) If I was overwhelmed by the idea of having to “know it all” in primary care, it’s even worse in family medicine, where you’re taking care of an even larger spectrum of patients. (Yes, you could restrict your practice, but you don’t always have that option.) 4) I worried that family med residency would be like a repeat of third year of med school, where you’re always in unfamiliar territory, always fumbling, and always the one who knows the...

How to Hack Your Work Week and Be More Productive

As doctors-in-training, we know we are smart. But somehow that intelligence doesn’t always directly translate to productivity. It is possible to work non-stop and try very hard, but still be ineffective and unproductive. The goal is to make it through medical training without burning out. In other words, in addition to students must learn to work smarter, not harder. How should we make the most of our work week? My biggest piece of advice is to conserve your energy. Misconception that you have to wake up early to get more done in the day. In fact, my personal experience and advice says otherwise. Sleep is imperative and naps are encouraged. In order to wake up early and be effective, you also have to sleep early. It is true that you can’t do everything perfectly all of the time, but cutting corners on your health and sacrificing your 8 hours. Your early morning power routine will come to a crashing halt if it does not include adequate sleep the night before. It is important to alter your routine to allow yourself to wind down. For example, it is best to avoid drinking coffee 6 hours before bedtime. Try to experiment and identify what helps you to fall asleep versus keeps you up at night. Some also advise against going to the gym at night, but I personally have not had...

What to Know About World Autism Day

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 is the 11th annual World Autism Day. Around the world, buildings and landmarks with shine will blue lights to raise awareness and increase recognition of those who live with autism. This will be followed by a month-long program of autism-friendly events that aim to foster acceptance and understanding. Light it Up Blue The Light it Up Blue initiative was started in 2010 by Autism Speaks. Last year, buildings, landmarks and businesses turned their lights blue to raise awareness. Over 170 countries participated on all 7 continents. While many view this day as an important way to raise awareness for autism, the initiative has engendered some controversy, with criticisms being aimed at the language of pathology used by Autism Speaks, as well as their financial standing as a charity. Many people, especially families of autistic children, would prefer to spread a message of acceptance for all who may be neurologically atypical, not just click-and-share social media “awareness.” Empowering Women and Girls with Autism Over at the United Nations, the General Assembly has adopted a resolution to observe World Autism Awareness Day with the message of “empowering women and girls with autism,” to focus on the way ways that gender dynamics and gender discrimination intersect with disability. Their resolution noted that women with disabilities have a lower rate of employment than both women without disabilities and men with disabilities. The...

Top Resources I Used for the OB-GYN Rotation

So many babies and contraception! This sums up my OB-GYN experience. In this post, we will take a few minutes away from labor and IUDs and discuss the top resources for the OB-GYN rotation! UWISE (A): I never thought I’d find a question bank I liked as much as UWORLD. But UWISE for the OB-GYN rotation is it. UWISE is an online module which has over 600 questions. The best part of UWISE is the questions are split into their respective sections. The sections are each 10 questions. You can thus do 10 questions on contraception, another 10 on post-term labor, and finally 10 on post-menopausal bleeding. This allows your studying to be very focused. The questions are overall well written and high-yield information. The only caveat I would give is the explanations are at times hard to decipher on which answer choice is correct. But otherwise, the question bank is solid. I highly recommend you schedule in time to complete them all. If you can’t get access to UWISE then try out this Anki cards which cover the topics. Full disclaimer I didn’t know of these during my rotation! Hope they help! At the end of your rotation, it would be helpful to do the random 50 or 100 question tests. They do reuse the questions from each section, but I found them helpful as a final review before my shelf. Case Files for...

The Passover Seder’s 4 Questions Interpreted by a Med Student

Ah, Passover, that one time of year where being a Sephardic Jew seems like the most compelling thing in the world. If your in Jew-town like me, you are currently living a cold and empty life without bread, or all grains for that matter. Despite all of the archaic and seemingly pointless rituals of Passover, there is one that stands strong, the reciting of the four questions at the Seder. One person, traditionally the youngest child, recites one question, “Why does this night differ from all other nights?” followed by 4 answers. As an aspiring doc, I was never quite content with the answers given to these questions. They’re questionable either from the standpoint of a medical student or from a pure medical standpoint. Here’s why: 1. On all other nights we eat bread or matza, while on this night we eat only matza. I’m not sure about you, but my fam and I don’t sit around nomming on matza, “on all other nights.” Bread is our go-to. Also, last time I checked Passover is 8 days, meaning it’s not only that on this night we’re gonna choke on dry, disgusting matzah, but I will also have a whole 192 hours to risk my life eating the choking-inducing food. Thanks a lot, Pharoah. A closer look at those nutrition facts suggests that maybe we should switch over to matzah-instead-of-bread diet....

Physician Suicide and Mental Health

I was talking to a medical student recently who said he didn’t want to do a residency in NYC because “everyone there kills themselves.”  I think that’s a little dramatic, although I do recall several years ago there was a rash of suicides in residents. I just read an excellent article on physician suicide. What’s sad is that if a physician really was feeling suicidal, I guarantee there’s no way they could seek counseling quickly that wouldn’t jeopardize their career and confidentiality–the only effective way would be to threaten suicide, which would take them to the ER and give them a record of suicidal behavior… a fate many proud physicians would consider worse than death. I’m going to take a step further and say mental health treatment in this country is really bad.  This is not a jab at mental health professionals, who are probably fine individually… just saying there aren’t enough of them. The system is bad. If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, they can call their local behavioral health center and maybe get an appointment in a month or two.  Hopefully they’re alive by then. I had a few really down periods during my medical training, so I can speak to all this from experience. There were no mental health services available. At one point, when I was having a really hard time, I called some student health...

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