The Importance of the Need for Hope

After the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City, the search and rescue response included specially trained cadaver dogs. Their job was to help detect and retrieve the missing. With each discovery, the dogs initial excitement quickly vanished, and the person was found to not have survived the incident. Hours turned into days of pulling human remains … Read more

Four Methods to Chip Away at Imposter Syndrome

Regardless of the setting, one of the most frequently discussed topics in healthcare is imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome was first defined by Clance and Imes as an inability to internalize success, and the tendency to attribute success to external causes such as luck, error, or knowing the appropriate individual. This definition is essential because most … Read more

Focusing on What Goes Right: The Safety-II Mindset

Amy C. Edmondson, known for her work in psychological safety and organizational behavior, squarely places healthcare organizations in the category of “complex systems.” In her article “Strategies for Learning from Failure,” she suggests that “failures are due to the inherent uncertainty of work.” The very nature of the work requires healthcare professionals to be skilled … Read more

I Missed It: Coping With Medical Error

Thursday Night It was 9 o’clock at night when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but decided to answer it anyway. It was my doctor. “Chase, I got your labs back and you have a critically low level. I spoke with someone at the hospital, I think I know what is happening, but … Read more

‘Overlapping’ Job Stressors May Flag Risk for Physician Suicide

The interplay between an individual’s work as a physician and problems associated with physical and mental health, substance use, relationships, legal matters, and finances all contribute to risk for suicide among physicians, new research shows. “This has meaningful implications for designing and implementing future suicide prevention interventions for healthcare workers; that is, targeting such overlapping … Read more

Why Empathy Is More Helpful Than Sympathy for My Patients

Growing up, I never felt comforted when someone expressed their sympathy to me when I was in a difficult situation. And I have never been good at expressing sympathy for others. When we feel sympathy for someone, we feel pity or sorrow for their situation. But we don’t understand what it is like to be … Read more

Hypervigilance and Helplessness in Facing Death of a Patient

It’s an early Friday morning during the pandemic. I arrive at my clinic to find my 8 o’clock slot booked with a same-day patient. As a clinical psychologist embedded within a primary care team, I meet with patients at varying frequency. I had just met with this patient on Monday — twice in one week … Read more

Substance Use the Main Cause of Physician License Actions: Study

Actions taken against a physician’s license for substance use are more common than those for psychological impairment or actions related to physical health, according to a recent report. Despite a sharp uptick in 2011, substance use–specific license actions taken against physicians dropped in frequency between 2004 and 2020. More than three fourths (76.3%) of license … Read more

The Amazing Journey of Kwadwo Sarpong

This is the story of how a remarkable young immigrant from Ghana started his life in the US as a janitor and, along the way, founded two nonprofit organizations, garnered invitations to the White House, and ultimately achieved his dream of pursuing a career in neurosurgery . Dr Kwadwo Sarpong at his medical school graduation. … Read more

When Words Are Not Enough

Almost 1 year into the pandemic, the day finally came when I could welcome patients back to meet in person. For a little over a decade, I have cared for the mental health of healthcare professionals. After nearly a year of telehealth, one by one I welcomed nurses, physicians, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, social … Read more