Data are good. Data we can share are better.
It’s easy to hold onto data we’re using for research. Despite the “security breaches” which fill news outlets with repetitive stories and warning, the data we tend to use in academics can typically be kept, quite securely, on a password-protected desktop in our locked offices, with little fear they’ll make it into the hands of ne’er-do-wells. Certainly this safety is still important—so much so that most institutional review boards require a specific statement regarding how we’ll handle our data to ensure it remains safe. “Protected health information” needs to be kept confidential, with hefty fines and public shaming for those who fail to adequately protect it.
Let me start by saying this isn’t a cry for help.
Physician burnout has been getting some press lately. Physician satisfaction, or the lack thereof, a bit less so, but it’s at least present. A few years ago, there were more articles supporting the high risk (if not prevalence) of more serious psychiatric disorders among physicians, with results similar to those we’re finding in the satisfaction and burnout studies: that certain specialties are more strongly associated with problems, that pay matters a little but not as much as one might think, and that they’re major problems that certainly need to be addressed.
My social media idol, Amalia Cochran, has “gone dark“, for at least another couple of days. She’s previously given some excellent advice to medical students, residents, and practicing surgeons. There’s been other excellent advice for all those new residents starting on July 1, equally applicable to those third-year medical students just starting clinical rotations. Specialty specific advice is rampant, but Skeptical Scalpel’s realistic, pragmatic, and timeless advice is applicable to all the new residents starting this week.
Not one to be left off the bandwagon, I’ve got my own advice for new residents. It’s just as pertinent to the newly ward-based medical students, as well as to those of us who have been practicing for a few years and need an occasional reminder. The advice isn’t as extensive as those lists given by my colleagues, and is probably less pragmatic because I don’t, quite frankly, have a reasonable way to help you implement the advice in your daily education and practice, and I don’t have an algorithm for working through the difficulties associated with it. It’s simple and complicated at the same time, and is something I struggle with every day.
I just finished live tweeting my first full conference. It was the Acute Care Surgery Point/Counterpoint Conference in Washington, DC, on June 1-4. It was actually quite the grueling experience, but there’s no question it was worth it.