A sense of purpose in a broken world.

Recently I found myself sitting in my car in the parking lot of my clinic,  unable to will myself to open the door.  I didn’t want to head in to the clinic that morning.  Instead I was filled with despair; overwhelmed with the events of the world. How can I do it? I thought.  How … Read moreA sense of purpose in a broken world.

5 things physicians might not know about compassion fatigue, but should.

For many physicians, the term “compassion fatigue” may imply, as the words describe, that fatigue leads to the loss of ability to feel compassion for others.  After all, what physician doesn’t have a day when s/he is too tired, running on too little reserve, and feeling some degree of emotional numbness? Many physicians may not … Read more5 things physicians might not know about compassion fatigue, but should.

Finding grace: an oncology patient’s impact on her doctor.

pelican majestic over shipwreck beach, OR

(published also online on 4/10/17 in The ASCO Post, under the title The Mystery of Grace.  re-published here with permission of the editor).   The day after I told Nell she had seven metastases to her brain, she sent me flowers. She was my patient; I was her oncologist. I had met her 1 year prior, … Read moreFinding grace: an oncology patient’s impact on her doctor.

The invisible burden of the oncologist

The return from a vacation weighed on me physically.  This had been a true vacation – an entire week away from clinic and spent with my family.  I even managed to unplug to the point of only checking email on my phone twice per day – really!

The tension that years ago took up permanent residence in my shoulders had faded away without my noticing, so that when I awoke to its sudden return, I realized that for one wonderful week I had almost become used to its absence.  Almost…

Read moreThe invisible burden of the oncologist

The top 3 hidden rewards of practicing oncology in a small community.

There is a shortage of rural physicians in the U.S.  My specialty, medical oncology, is but one of many specialties where the shortage is especially glaring. In oncology, I think there is perhaps a fear of practicing outside the walls of a large tertiary center and leaving behind the established framework and boundaries between the doctor and patient. I know it was a fear of mine when I moved to a rural community to practice nearly 4 years ago…

Read moreThe top 3 hidden rewards of practicing oncology in a small community.

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