Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hope for Physicians: A New Paradigm

My article Healing patients shouldn't be killing doctors was published on KevinMD this week. The enthusiastic response from my colleagues has not surprised me, for I know how unsupported and unappreciated so many physicians feel as they do their best for people every day despite countless obstacles. As I said in the article, unsupported physicians are like hamsters in a wheel going around and around never getting anywhere while running themselves to the ground.

In the last few years, the rates of burnout among physicians have reached epidemic proportions. This rising prevalence continues to climb alongside a parallel ladder of increasing barriers to excellent care while the once-central patient-physician relationship sits in a corner, pushed back by technology, the mandated over-reliance on electronic medical records, increasing regulatory demands, and less time available for direct patient care. We spend so much time, energy, and resources constantly adapting to change that a proactive practice is often an unattainable dream.

Yet, this is not the end of our story. In fact, I believe it marks a new and important beginning for our profession.

As physicians, it is time for us to recognize that, without our very active participation, the health care system that's become an enemy for patients and physicians will only worsen. As physician leaders, we are a critical part of the solution to the growing enigma that health care represents. During a time when it's tempting to merely strive to survive on the sidelines, we must become more engaged than ever.

What a privilege to serve at the Florida Capitol!
It is time to change the culture of medicine to one of modeled wellness, interdependent teamwork, and true servant leadership. And as physicians, we must take the lead.

As I explain in the article, we must become courageous champions of change. No letting the complacent entice us, or the naysayers stop us. No letting those with low expectations, no vision, and limited understanding dictate what we can and cannot do. No excuses in pursuing the very best for our patients and for our teams, and no fear. Let us all do our part. Let us lead. Read more here.

Thrive!
Dr Mari 


Monday, January 4, 2016

A Favorite Christmas Gift ... Insects! (Part IV - Transformation Series)

I am the only person I know who received insects for Christmas. Yes! My son thought I'd enjoy watching some caterpillars crawl their way up into a chrysalis ... en route to becoming butterflies. So here's what he got me.


A perfect gift! I'm always mesmerized by watching this process, so I thought I'd share it with you as 2016 gets going. After all, we all have something that needs to be transformed in this new year. I know you agree.

So my caterpillar friends arrived with plenty of food carpeting their cup home. All we had to do was watch them grow, which is a good thing. I don't really like caterpillars. They crawl around, eat, and grow. That's about it. Yet, what comes next is pretty remarkable.

Satisfied with their earth-bound meals, and perhaps recognizing that's all the ground has for them, the plump caterpillars leave behind what's familiar for high places. There they hang for days ... waiting ... making observers wonder if they've just dried up, never to open, or if perhaps they'll emerge one day.

In the waiting, we invariably notice something new. This time I noticed caterpillar parts left behind on the ground and walls. Some parts had to be shed and left behind before entering the chrysalis. I know you also agree there's much food for thought in that as we consider our areas of needed transformation.

After days of waiting patiently, here's how our friend looked right as it emerged from the chrysalis: wrinkled and small. Yet, after a few minutes of pumping the unused wings, they straightened and opened in all their colorful splendor! Amazing.


The process of watching a crawling caterpillar transform into a flying butterfly is always full of surprises. My greatest discovery this time was the beauty and attention to detail evident on the back of the butterfly's wings. On the painted lady butterfly, the back of the wing is stunning. A rainbow of color is hidden on the part of the butterfly we often don't even see.


I can picture God's fingers meticulously adding a bit of blue here, some red there, then orange and yellow and green. So much more than I'd ever seen on this butterfly, miraculous if we consider that the caterpillar that became a chrysalis had only one color: black.

My winged friends teach me so much about life and about myself. Here are just a few thoughts as the New Year takes flight.

* Sometimes life and beauty are hidden, though very present. We need to pay attention to see and perceive it.
* Often what is dried up and looks dead has life within, waiting to be nurtured, discovered, and expressed.
* The process of transformation takes time. Patience is needed ... for the one being changed and for the one observing and hoping for change in someone else.
* When we're tired of crawling around empty grounds, heading upward holds great promise of new life. If life feels empty, look up and start the upward journey. New life awaits at new heights, and it is the climbing that strengthens your wings!
* Seasons of slow crawling are often essential to the growth that's needed. Without the caterpillar, there is no butterfly.
* Life is a beautiful miracle.
* Transformation is always worth the wait.

Ponder with me: What must I leave behind so I may embrace the new and rise higher in 2016?

Pray with me: As this new year begins, may I have the wisdom to recognize areas of needed change, the courage to rise above my circumstances, and the ability to trust that God the Giver of life knows me, loves me, and is always in control.

New Year Blessings!
Dr Mari

* For more of this series on transformation, read Be Still And Know for Part I, Baggage-free Flying for Part II, and Hope Flies Despite Broken Wings! for Part III. *

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Romans 12:2