One doctor really paying attention, really listening to the story, can change a patient’s life… it can make the difference between making the right diagnosis and having a good outcome, to not getting there.
It’s an absolute pleasure to introduce our next guest Dr. Patricia Salber. Dr. Salber is a certified Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine physician. Furthermore, the course of her career displays quite an impressive path: she was Kaiser Permanente’s first Director of National Accounts, she is a current consultant for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, she speaks and moderates at national and international healthcare conferences, she serves on advisory councils for global non-profit companies, and she is even involved in the health technology space (check out CliniOps as an example).
Additionally, Dr. Salber still finds time to run her healthcare blog: www.thedoctorweighsin.com which is described as “a global leader in providing, reliable, high-quality content to those seeking cutting-edge information about health, healthcare, and innovation.” Initially a blog about weight loss in 2005, the blog has developed to cover a wide variety of topics.
In this conversation we dive into Dr. Salber’s path to creating The Doctor Weighs in, the call for young medical writers to submit their stories, the many opportunities one has with a medical degree, choosing a specialty, and much more. Please enjoy the episode and please check out www.thedoctorweighsin.com
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Sample of the conversation:
Have you noticed a fear or stifling of expression in medicine?
Oh yeah, absolutely, I can look back at my own training, but also, in talking to people going through training now, it’s true. You come in as one kind of person at the beginning of your training… you know you’re first day, the day you got accepted and we have this wonderful talk telling you you’re going to have this huge future in front of you, and then over time, your viewpoint (as the work piles on and the stress piles on and the sleep disappears), you find your perspective shrinking and you lose it. I think a lot of people that I trained with, and I hear it from young people today, lose some of the compassion, enthusiasm and wonder of medicine as you go through the actual process of becoming a physician. I know you started The Happy Doc because that’s one of your concerns that there are so many physicians who are not as happy as they thought they would be, and so I’m hopeful that doing things like writing and having other aspects of your life that bring you joy, that it can start to bring that joy back into the practice of medicine as well.
Dr. Salber reflecting on her choice in medicine
You know what, I still love it, and when I have people talk to me and they say, “oh I don’t think I want my kid to go to medical school,” I say first of all, it’s not really your choice you know (by the time your kid’s ready to go to medical school they’re young adults), they get to choose what they want to do. Second, its such a wonderful field. Because even if you choose not to practice full time, or if you choose to practice part of your career but not all of your career, you still take that incredible knowledge and training and you can apply it to all sorts of other things, public health for example, or the business in medicine like I did, or writing, or a whole host of other things. You can use that training and continue to learn and explore.
Look at the bigger picture, you career can move and change
That’s the beauty of medicine, you don’t have to do the same thing for your entire career, you can take that knowledge, experience, and credentials and try a bunch of different things, if that’s the kind of lifestyle you want to have.
It’s probably easier for me to say that from my end of the age spectrum, than when you’re in the middle — I do remember how all consuming it was in the middle of training. It was really hard to think about, your life after training. But it does exist, just like life after family does exist, for example. It doesn’t mean that the family isn’t still important to you, but you’re not wrapped up in “oh i gotta get to the soccer game” or all the kinds of things that make it tough to balance family, life, and work during the years when the kids are young.
For more of the conversation, listen to the audio!