“You’re Not Alone, Doc!”
That is the message I want to help spread, especially to medical students, residents, and young physicians who are new to our challenging yet deeply rewarding profession.
Over twenty-five years in medicine, I’ve learned the importance of community. Physician isolation is more common than it used to be, and grassroots organizations like Physicians Working Together have stepped in to make it easier for us to support one another.
In 2015, family physician and patient advocate, Dr. Kim Jackson, founded Physicians Working Together. Shortly thereafter, she launched National Physicians’ Week “to honor the healers dedicated to the art of medicine.” Amazing to realize we didn’t have a week to celebrate physicians until then!
I first met Dr. Jackson at the U.S. Capitol when I was among thirty-some physicians who traveled to D.C. to learn about advocacy and meet with legislators. I believe my first conversation with Kim took place as I entered the Capitol and we helped each other find the senators’ offices where we’d scheduled meetings that afternoon. This heartwarming memory of that life-changing trip makes me smile. It was then I regained something I’d missed for several decades: my residents’ lounge! That place where everyone “gets” what you’ve gone through, can relate, and shares your depth of knowledge, curiosity, and dedication. That place where you can admit to your friends you can’t sleep, since you’re still worried about the patient you admitted the previous night. That place where you know your colleagues care as much as you do about the enormous responsibility this profession carries while embracing the joy and privilege of being someone’s physician.
Yes, I now have a nationwide physicians’ lounge! I have a network of exceptional colleagues all over the country that began to form that weekend. Truly, it feels like family. I care about each of them.
That visit to the Capitol to advocate for patients and for our profession was the beginning of many inspiring friendships with physicians who care about the patient-physician relationship as much as I do. And Dr. Kim Jackson is certainly one of them.
This year, as we get ready to celebrate National Physicians’ Week (March 25-31, 2020), Physicians Working Together has partnered with several organizations to sponsor a Medical Student Talent Contest. The (now!) annual contest is an opportunity for physicians in training to be creative, think outside the box, have fun, and take a break from the rigor and intensity of medical school. It is also an opportunity for the winners to receive $1,000! Awesome!
Do you know some medical students? Let them know about this opportunity to display their creativity and talents! They can learn the details about the Medical Student Talent Contest HERE. And if you’d like to support the medical student scholarship fund via sponsorship, click HERE.
Thank you, Dr. Kim Jackson, Physicians Working Together, and every organization that recognizes the need to support physicians in training and in practice. I applaud you and am grateful for you.
Together we can accomplish so much more. I’m so glad you’re here!
* I wrote about our inspiring trip to DC in my book, Recapturing Joy in Medicine. A few winners will receive a signed copy of my book during National Physicians’ Week. I hope you love it and use it as an inspiring resource and practical workbook throughout your training and in practice!