Foolish Youth

The first time I heard that computers would revolutionize the way we take care of patients, I was all in. As a family medicine resident, I served as the champion for our newly-installed electronic health record (EHR). I volunteered for any committee, task force or board that had the words “health” and “electronic” in the name or the mission. It took more than 15 years to disillusion me, but eventually, the shortcomings of electronic health records outweighed my enthusiasm. Should computers be a tool used in and by the house of medicine? Yes! Will we achieve success by iterating on today’s EHR options? Hmm. I have my doubts.

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Finding Balance

I like to say “yes” to new opportunities. It is fun to try out different types of work, learn new information, stretch my brain and grow my abilities. Sometimes “yes” leads down an exciting new path and sometimes it results in a dead end; either way, I always learn something about myself and frequently about the subject.

As I took on more projects (and got older!), there were various points in my life where I could no longer stretch the hours in the day to cover the volume of work to be done. Initially, I did the same thing we all do: I tried to work harder + faster + better + longer to get everything done. Eventually, I realized my life needed a reset and sorted out a way to prioritize the current things on my plate and make room for the next new thing I really wanted to do.

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Phoning a Friend

I have been practicing full scope, rural family medicine for 18 years now and I still don’t know everything I need to know. When I come upon a puzzle I don’t know how to solve, I joke with patients that I need to “phone a friend” to get help with the answer.

Some days, I am privileged to be the friend someone else is phoning for a tough problem; those opportunities allow me to give back just a little bit of the support I have received over the course of my career. If your number is in my contacts app, it’s time to say thanks. You know I’ll be calling you for more great advice real soon.

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Changing My Space

I have always lived by the philosophy that my mission wasn’t to change the world; it was to change the space I’m in, to find nearby opportunity that I have the ability to impact and improve. I love the space I’m in now. I am ready to expand that space if selected to join the AAFP Board of Directors next year. And I accept the obligation of that position to further change the healthcare space for family physicians and their patients.

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I started a gratitude journal recently - a reminder to myself that despite some crazy moments, many things in my life are GOOD. After just a day of jotting down people, events and things that I was thankful for, I felt lifted by the task. The list stretched quite long in the ensuing week, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites.

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