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Be responsible for the energy you bring into the room

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Energy in InteractionLast week was well….a challenge. There were some lows- Not feeling great but still wanting to be professional, friendly and helpful to patients and some paperwork processing problems. There were also some highs- an entire day of extremely happy cataract surgery patients and my son’s 6th birthday party.

So my team and I rode the ups and downs. Which I suppose is how life really is. Sometimes it is hard to stay in the moment when things are not going well, but we really have to. I remind my staff that this is our life… and we spend a big chunk of it in our office making a difference for the people that walk through our doors.

No matter what your job, never forget how valuable you are and the incredible impact we can all have by playing world class with every task and every encounter. You can choose to drag your ass in everyday or you can choose to play at the top of your game…you can’t choose both. To get to world-class in your current field or future aspirations will take working at the top of your game as well as working as a cohesive team.

I remember reading this amazing book a few years ago by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor called My Stroke of Insight. Taylor was a neuroscientist who had a massive hemorrhagic stroke. While she was recovering she gained a keen and innate sense about the people that were caring for her. She could tell if they really cared and brought a positive loving vibe, or if they were just putting in their time and really did not care. She eventually put a sign on the outside of her hospital door that read” Be responsible for the Energy that you bring into the room.” She did not want anything but positive energy and loving vibes to surround her during her critical time of healing.

I think we should all consider what energy we bring to any room on a daily basis. Set the intention before you start your day to be helpful, respectful, positive and kind. Then do everything in your power to ignite that positive energy before you start your day.

A great exercise is to take some deep breaths clear your mind and set positive intentions. Say to yourself, “I choose to remove any negative energy I have been holding onto. I choose to retrieve all the positive energy within me and around me. My intention is to share this positive energy with the world.

With your breathing and positive intentions you can completely shift your mood and set yourself up to share your greatness with everyone you meet. World class work and a world class life is a result of world class levels of positive energy. Leaving a positive energy impression can serve you in so many ways…not only will you connect better with others, but you will also feel a much greater sense of support and your life will be so much more in the flow. Instead of forcing and pushing and trying to make things happen, it will seem as though the universe is conspiring in your favor to make life easier. Positivity can have remarkable benefits.

Here is to an excellent week!

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Book Announcement: Energy Boost: How to Manage Your Energy and Maximize Your Potential

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Are you Too Tired or Too Fearful or Both?

Writing a book has been a dream of mine for a number of years. I have a passion for expressing my ideas in the written form. It just always seemed that after I completed everything I had to do for the day there was little time or energy for my passions.

I can hardly believe I’m finally announcing this, but I am thrilled to say I finally did it! I’ve written a book called the Energy Boost: How to Manage Your Energy and Maximize Your Potential and I used the principles you’ll learn in the book to give me the Energy to actually get the book completed.

Once the book was written, I realized there was another obstacle. An even bigger one…self-doubt.

A fear that it wasn’t good enough, that nobody would want to read it, or that nobody would like it. I now realize that self-doubt is a big part of getting anything out into the world and that the bigger the challenge the more paralyzing the fear.

So this email is me pushing through the fear. Because at the end of the day overcoming our fears and living the true God-given expression of ourselves in the service of others is what this human experience is really all about.

I sincerely hope this book helps you in finding energy and courage to live your truth and your potential.

How will Energy Boost Help You?

If you feel tired all the time, if you feel burnt out and stressed and constantly wish there were 48 hours in a day- then this book is for you.

If you feel like you are just running around and not getting anywhere. That you are so busy, but feel as though you are just busy, being busy- then this book is for you.

If you know that you have more to offer the world. If you know that you are not fulfilling your God-given potential. If you have no idea how to find the time, energy or courage to manifest the greatest and truest expression of your being and finally give your gifts to the world. Then this book is what you have been waiting for….

The Energy Boost outlines a step-by-step process called The Energy Management System. A system that has truly changed my life. Energy is the new commodity we must gather, nurture, and expend in alignment with the way we want our lives to proceed.

The Six Step Energy Management System

  • Eating Well & Exercising
  • Now – Living in the Moment
  • Everyday Life Management
  • Rejuvenation
  • Gratitude
  • Your Passions

This book will help you build a strong physical base through diet and exercise to maximize your energy. Then it will discuss focusing your energy by living in the moment and everyday life management. Lastly, you’ll learn to nurture and renew your energy through rejuvenating activities and practicing gratitude.

Along with my own experience, the energy management system is supported with the latest psychological and neuro-scientific research into what really works to improve energy levels. You’ll learn how focused effort, combined with periods of rest, will generate the greatest productivity.

By being mindful of our energy, we are more conscious of how we use it, and where we can conserve it. Instead of just trying to save time, you’ll be able to maximize your energy levels, and apply your energy to the things that are important to you. As Oprah very eloquently stated “The energy you create and release into the world will be reciprocated on all levels.”

One of the important things you’ll learn from this book is to plan ahead so you can be proactive. Reading this book is your first step to creating the life you want and deserve. It is my sincere hope that it serves you.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more detailed insights from my book. But if you’d like to get all my time-tested strategies right away in a convenient ebook, you can take advantage of a 40% discount for my valued readers.

For a limited time only, the book is priced at $2.99.

Click Here to Purchase the eBook

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May Article Highlights

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

I truly believe that readers are leaders and I do my best to keep up with the latest news, studies and blogs. My interests range from positive psychology, health research, business tips to general self-help advice.

I come across so many informative and interesting posts on social media and in my RSS reader. I share them on my own Twitter and Facebook pages and have also collected some of the best posts and given you short summaries of the articles in a monthly highlights post.

The Confidence Gap

In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality.” Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Confident WomanA growing amount of evidence shows that women are less confident than men, and in order to be successful in your career, confidence matters just as much as competence.

Although evidence points to women being more competent than men in various businesses, our self-assurance has not risen. This lack of confidence correlates with a lack of success, which can be devastating for women in the workforce. There is hope, as this article points out, confidence can be acquired, and we have the ability to shape our minds to be more wired towards confidence!

Being a woman in the medical workforce, I understand the struggle to step out in confidence. The importance of self-talk and positive thinking, as well as taking time to meditate on who you are, and where you want to be has helped increase my confidence.

Male Executives Don’t Feel Guilt, See Work-Life Balance as a Women’s Problem

It was rather disheartening to come across this article recently. Harvard Business Review conducted a survey, which discovered that no matter how much power female executives have gained, family issues are still seen as a female issue.

It was revealed that men choose their work without regret because they see themselves as the “breadwinner.”  Unfortunately women followed this same notion, agreeing that family issues are the woman’s problem. In fact, many women leave their careers because of the guilt they feel over not spending enough time with their children.

This article points out, that in order to change this way of thinking, we need to encourage men to see “family issues” as everyone’s problem, not just women.

As a hard-working business woman, it is important to have a spouse that not only supports me, but shares the responsibility of our family life issues. I am grateful to have a husband who sees our son as not just “my responsibility”, but his as well.

The Doctor Who Coaches Athletes to Sleep

“The old-school approach of toughing it out is completely bogus, not to mention counterproductive.” Dr. Charles Czeisler

Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor at Harvard Medical School, is well known around the professional sports team league industry. He advises teams and athletes on how to improve their performance.  His big emphasis is on sleep. He says, “Sleep plays such a big role in learning and memory. It’s a simple way to have an edge and be able to perform at your best.”

In 2011 the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time. Dr. Czeisler was the one who advised the team to cancel their practice in the morning, and exchange it for a nap! That night they beat their opposing team 4-0.

Sleep is crucial to everyday performance, whether you are an athlete, a business person, or a stay-at-home mom. In my practice as an eye surgeon, sleep is essential for me to be able to perform safely on my patients.  I make sure I get to bed early, and get the recommended 7.5-9 hours of sleep needed for my performance.

The Man Working To Cure His Own Cancer

I love coming across inspiring stories of people turning difficult situations into something positive and life transforming. When Josh Sommer was a young university freshman at just 18, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Chordoma. Instead of giving up and succumbing to the overwhelming news of cancer, he turned around and began to research the very disease, determined to change his prognosis.

After Sommer realized that the biggest hold out to any cure for this rare disease was human error, he made his way into working at the only federally funded laboratory focused on Chordoma. He says, “I had no experience, but a lot of motivation.”

Although Sommer is now cancer free, the disease often returns, meaning another risky surgery and radiation. To date, there are no drugs effective for treating the disease, something that Summer is determined to change. Thanks to his determination, and the help of dedicated scientists, there is now a drug that is showing some promise.

Cancer is something that affects us all and I’m thankful for the dedicated people working towards cancer cures and prevention strategies.

Female Entrepreneurs Leading Economic Resurgence

As a female entrepreneur myself, I respect and admire all women out there who are leading and supporting our economy with their businesses.

I recently came across an article that honors and gives credit to the heroes of our economy- women business owners.  During the last six years of the U.S recession little,  if not any, credit has been given to these inspiring women that are helping lift the economy up! It’s amazing to know that, without women small business owners, the recession would have hit a lot harder than it did.

With their creativity and perseverance, woman have shown that not only can they take on the difficult venture of owning a business, but they can successfully take it to the top, supporting the economy greatly. In 2007-2013 the U.S economy statistics showed that employment declined over this period, however, women leaders remained stable. In fact, the only businesses that provided an increase in employment are majority women owned.

It is important for us to continue to work with the business policy makers in our area, to support female job owners. They need to be supported in order to allow them to be successful and to grow their businesses. This will in turn allows us to harness the exceptional skills that these women posses, in order to continue to transform our economy.

The Countries With the Highest Number of Female Executives Are Not the Ones You’d Expect

I recently came across the 2014 International Business Report, which surveyed around 6,600 privately owned companies, in 45 countries. I was surprised to discover that emerging countries like Russia, Indonesia, Latvia, and the Philippines, had 40% or more of women in senior management.

North America on the other hand, had only about 25% of women in senior management. The U.S.A is among the lowest, with an average of 22%. I was even more surprised to find that countries like Brazil, Russia, Indian, China, and South Africa, have on average 30% of women in senior management, surpassing the global average of 24%.

It isn’t so surprising when you learn that women in emerging countries graduate university at a rate that matches, or exceeds men.  These countries give a lot of support to women, allowing more flexible working arrangements, and paid maternity leave. It is obvious that these countries see the worth of female leadership.

How to Succeed Professionally by Helping Others

I believe in the importance of giving back and helping others.  Not only does it encourage others, but it strengthens us.

I was very encouraged when I found recent research showing that contributing to the success of others, does benefit you in the long run. Although the results are not immediate, in time you will reap the rewards. In fact, evidence points out that helpful employees in restaurants, have higher revenue, cleanliness, and customer satisfaction. This verification applies to other industries, showing that, “helping behaviors play an important role in organizational effectiveness.”

There is even more research that suggests that by helping others, you can actually facilitate your learning. In a study examining employees at a large consulting firm, it was observed that those who helped others, gained insights about their own work, and become better problem solvers in general.

Exercising for Healthier Eyes- May Help Prevent Macular Degeneration

Mature woman using dumbbellsAs an eye surgeon, I know all too well the devastating effects of age related vision loss, especially due to macular degeneration. There is only so much we can do to repair the damage, so preventing disease in the first place is critical.

There was a promising study conducted in 2009 that followed more than 40,000 middle-aged distance runners. The study found that those covering the most miles had the least likelihood to develop the disease. However, the study didn’t compare runners to non-runners, nor did it explain how exercise may affect the eyes.

Another study, conducted  by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, used mice as subjects to try to come to a conclusion on this issue. Amazingly, the study concluded that the mice who were made to exercise, had higher levels of substances known as growth factors in the animal’s bloodstream and brain. These growth factors are known to support the health of neurons, and are  thus suspected to improving brain health and cognition.

Although there is no totally reliable research showing that exercise decreases your risk of macular degeneration, many doctors (including myself) would agree that if you have a family history of this, discussing an exercise program with your doctor wouldn’t be a bad idea! In fact, it will help you in many other ways physically and mentally!

Pill That ‘Resets’ The Body’s Clock Could Cure Jet Lag

For those who travel, jet lag can be debilitating. In fact, research has shown that when the body’s clock is out of sync for long periods of time, it can cause serious and even fatal heart problems. Not only that, it’s becoming clearer, that disruption of our body’s clock can also cause numerous diseases including, diabetes, cancer, and strokes.

A study conducted at Manchester University found an enzyme in mice that keeps the body operating on a 24- hour rhythm. When this enzyme is suppressed, it can effectively reset itself, giving the body an easier way to adapt to the change. Researchers have found a drug that can inhibit the same enzyme, and could possibly help the body adapt to changes, allowing people to have a smoother recovery from jet lag or night shifts.

The importance of sleep is crucial, and when you disrupt it by travelling through time zones, or taking on a night shift, you can negatively impact your body. This drug sounds promising, and could even help doctors or those on shift work!

 America’s Workers: Stressed Out, Overwhelmed, Totally Exhausted

So what’s driving the overwork and what can be done? To really get at the heart of it, we’d have to look at our economy, our tax policy, and our workplace laws.” Rebecca J. Rosen

Sleeping at the Office The author, Rebecca J. Rosen brings up such a huge issue in our society today. We are ALL overworked, and we value work too much, at the expense of our health, families’ and well-being. A study that she brings up in her article looked at productivity rates in different countries. The study found that in North America (particularly the U.S.A) our productivity falls below other countries with a more realistic work-life policy. We are putting in the most hours, but we aren’t putting in many productive hours, thus we are just working a lot of meaningless time.

It was interesting to discover that other countries limit work hours by law to keep workers from getting burnt out or exploited. We have no policies like that in North America, which explains why everyone is so tired and stressed!  As a busy working mom, I have to consciously remember to put my health and wellbeing first. If I don’t, I cannot effectively work in my practice, or be the wife and mom I need to be to my family. It is important to keep our priorities in order and remember what truly matters.


Toward a Pill That Helps Us Learn as Fast as Kids

Can you imagine taking a pill that could help you learn as fast as kids?  We may not be that far off, as Harvard professor Takao Hensch is passionately working towards a way to successfully achieve this.  In fact, he says he has found that behavioral drugs can actually help return the brain chemistry back into “critical periods” in development. A study conducted by Hensch and other researchers found that men who took the drug valproate, did better on identifying music notes, compared to those in the placebo group.

Hench explains that, “The brain is not losing its plasticity forever as we grow older. It’s the brain’s job to be elastic, and it wants to rewire. But through evolution, it’s created a lot of molecules to make sure it doesn’t rewire too much.”

Other researchers, such as Nafissa Ismail, are bringing up caution saying that, “The young brain’s plasticity is a double-edge  sword- though skills like language and music come more naturally to children, environmental and social stress can also harm them much more profoundly.” She cautions that drugs like Valproate, can actually open up the brain to be more sensitive to environmental stressors.

Although this new research poses some interesting and hopeful findings, there is another side where we have to be cautious, and weigh out the benefits and risks.

Treating Chronic Pain with Meditation

“Meditation teaches patients how to react to the pain. People are less inclined to have the ‘Ouch’ reaction, and are able to control their emotional reaction to pain.”  Fadel Zeidan

Nearly 15% of all Americans experience chronic pain. Many have tried chiropractors, acupuncture, medication, physical therapy, and even surgery to no avail. Chronic pain is most often caused by an injury that is exacerbated over time leading to more damage. Researchers are now saying that meditation can actually decrease pain, and allow sufferers to experience freedom from constant discomfort.

I am a solid believer in meditation and all its benefits, and was amazed by the findings in this article.

The last ten years has seen an increase in studies focusing on meditation. It was found in these studies that mental practice can alter sensory experience. This explains war wounds going unnoticed until after the fighting is over. These studies have also found that meditation can help pain significantly, however, it cannot cure it.

One study that I found encouraging in this article was that you don’t have to be a meditation guru to reap the benefits! Even beginners who attempted meditation for their pain found it effectively decreased it. The reason meditation works so well is that it has been shown to alter four areas of the brain, one of them being the primary somatosensory cortex, which is the pain processing area.

The Monitored Man – How Tracking Your Activity Levels Can Change Your Behavior

We all known that exercise is beneficial, but how much exercise do you really need? There are so many apps and devices out there that help monitor that activity, but do they really help?

I was impressed to find out that these trackers have been shown to increase activity levels. Dr. Rajani Larocca conducted a six week lifestyle program for ten patients with diabetes (age 50-70), and each patient was fitted with a Fitbit Zip tracker. Every one of those participants increased their activity. In fact, eight months later half the patients in the group still wore the tracker.

Although these trackers only detect motion, not really activity, they seem to motivate people to increase activity. Even though it has been shown that wearing a tracker does increase activity, it was encouraged to only wear monitors when meaningful.

I have a fitness routine that I go through every day, and if I didn’t try to match or beat my times it would get boring. I think that is why there is an increase in activity with monitoring devices. Most of us have a desire to better ourselves, and to be able to see our activity in number form allows us to see our progress more clearly!

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May Medical Article Highlights

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

As health-care professionals, we know the importance of continuing education.

In addition to keeping up with my Ophthalmology journals I’m also interested in improving patient care, streamlining efficiency and the latest medical breakthroughs.

I come across so many informative and interesting posts on social media and in my RSS reader. I share them on my own Twitter and Facebook pages and have also collected some of the best posts and given you short summaries of the articles in a monthly highlights post.

How putting the patient first helped a U.S. hospital improve its care

patient-first-hosptitalIn 2004, there was a shift in how a Wisconsin hospital conducted its daily operations, after they realized that patients weren’t central to their values. After this change the leaders in this hospital had to transform their thinking, and they created a new model that saw patients as the captain of the ship, doctors were experts, and nurses were care managers. This paradigm shift drastically improved patient satisfaction, and led to “safer medication prescribing, shorter stays in the hospital, greater satisfaction among health care providers, and improved patient flow between departments.”

Vancouver hospitals are slowly making the shift to this paradigm. However, this shift has been slow because it was initially based on “militaristic, hierarchal models.” It may also take a bit for all medical professionals to get use to the idea that they are a service industry, and they are there to serve patients.

I think if every hospital acted like the one in Wisconsin, the world would be a better place! I am very concerned with patient satisfaction, and do my best to ensure that patients are comfortable, informed and satisfied.  I understand and embrace that I am here to serve patients, and need to put them in the driver seat when it comes to their health.

Save a Brain, Make a Checklist

“Regulation works best when a practice of unquestioned value has become the norm.” Dr. Lucian Leape

A Rhode Island hospital had at least three occasions in 2007, where a surgeon operated on the wrong side of patients’ heads. It is often assumed that these incidents nearly never happen. Unfortunately, researcher Johns Hopkins has estimated that these “incidents” occur more than 4,000 times in the U.S every year. A startling realization, that can make patients feel even more uneasy before going under the knife.

The solution proposed to this unfortunate surgical error, is the use of checklists.  It seems so simple, and if it can really prevent this awful surgical mistake from occurring, then why not try to implement it?

Harvard professor Atul Gawande published a book on this proposed solution, and from that the New England Journal of Medicine used the solutions in the book to conduct a study. They found that the use of the checklist was in fact, able to decrease the death rate from surgery by almost half. We all make mistakes; even if we’ve performed an operation 1000 times it is still possible for anyone to overlook a step. The use of the checklist, if followed consistently and properly, seems to be a promising solution.

As a surgeon myself, it is essential to make sure you follow all the necessary steps, and remember that you have the life of a human being at your hands. I think the idea of checklists is great, and could be a sure way to decrease errors from continuing to occur. We can’t let our pride stop us from using this simple method of preventing mistakes.

 Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper

“If the medical market functioned like the car industry… providers would have adopted electronic records long ago.” David Blumenthal

Although our world is rapidly becoming more technical, and more and more industries are transitioning to a more digital way of doing things, the medical world has somewhat lagged behind. Many of us are aware that the use of digital information, vastly improves worker productivity. In terms of medical care, not only would it improve productivity, but it would ensure that the patient is getting the best possible care that they can.

The reason for this lag comes from the provider’s perspective. There are many costs, and difficulties in setting up these systems.  The start-up costs are large, and there is more work involved initially, as staff have to be retrained.

Dr. David Blumenthal is not only a doctor and former Harvard Medical School professor, but he was the national coordinator for health information technology. He goes into detail on why this process has been slow, and how and when this may change. He sees that the big hold out in the health care future stems from a common problem in society. He explains, “We have lots of information, and we don’t always know what to do with it. Your doctor, your nurse, is not prepared to process the information they already have…and adding more in will just make it even more anxiety-provoking and overwhelming.”

I know that when my office implemented electronic medical records it was a huge learning curve. At first it decreased the amount of patents we were able to serve until we were fully immersed in the system. It is the way of the future and will lead to improved patient care and safety.

Pill That ‘Resets’ The Body’s Clock Could Cure Jet Lag

For doctors, the debilitating effects of working work night shifts can feel unbearable. In fact, research has shown that when the body’s clock is out of sync for long periods of time, it can cause serious and even fatal heart problems. Not only that, it’s becoming clearer, that disruption of our body’s clock can also cause numerous diseases including, diabetes, cancer, and strokes.

A study conducted at Manchester University found an enzyme in mice that keeps the body operating on a 24- hour rhythm. When this enzyme is suppressed, it can effectively reset itself, giving the body an easier way to adapt to the change. Researchers have found a drug that can inhibit the same enzyme, and could possibly help the body adapt to changes, allowing people to have a smoother recover from jet lag or night shifts.

The importance of sleep is crucial, and when you disrupt it by working the night shift, you can negatively impact your body. This drug sounds promising, and although it may not be available to anyone for the next five years, it will certainly positively for those in the medical field.

Can We Measure What it Takes to be a Good Doctor? 

doctorIt wasn’t until recently that doctors discovered that their quality of care could be measured. We now have hundreds of quality measures, and physicians have to accept that this is here to stay. So, what is it that makes a good doctor?

Interestingly enough, Dr. Ashish Jha, author of this article, took to twitter, and conducted her own survey. She asked followers what they felt was the top ten important qualities in a doctor. Surprisingly “Having empathy” was the top answer, and number five down the list was “competency”.  It appears that patients already assume that doctors are competent, and what they want is more of the “soft skills”.

According to Dr. Jah, to measure doctor quality, we can use patient experience surveys to focus on the “soft skills.” However we need to use our current metrics to assess good systems.

The Case for Seeing a Nurse Instead of a Doctor 

Since the Affordable Care Act in the U.S, it was recorded that eight million people signed up for health insurance. With this massive increase in patients, doctors can’t keep up, and there has been a push to allow nurses to take on more responsibility, thus freeing up doctors, and allowing the practice to run more smoothly.

Dentists were faced with a similar situation in the past, and research shows that they relied on their hygienists to take on patients. In fact, States that allowed hygienists to take on more responsibility saw less wait times. This example has pushed forward a strong contention for allowing nurses to take on more responsibility, freeing up doctors, and allowing less wait times.

Nurse lobbying groups are arguing that nurse practitioners are just as capable as doctors; however, doctor lobbying groups are arguing that they are more competent than nurses. Despite what each group is saying, it won’t be possible for doctors to keep up with the surge of patients, and they may have to let go, and give nurses more responsibility.

Being in the medical field I can relate to the overwhelming demands put on doctors to see large amounts of patients. It can be difficult and overwhelming, and is tough on patients as they have longer wait times. Relying on a healthcare team consisting of physician assistants, technicians and nurses can free up doctors, and allow a practice to run more efficiently.

Should It Really Take 14 Years to Become a Doctor? 

According to the WHO we need 15% more doctors, indicating a major shortage of doctors. It has been estimated that by the year 2025, we will be short 130,600 doctors. To remedy this worrisome problem, it has been proposed that we consider ways to manufacture doctors faster and cheaper. On average it takes doctors 14 years to complete all their schooling.

Our current medical system can be biased, as it takes a large amount of financial resources to be able to become doctors. The lack of funds shouldn’t be a determining factor in who can become a doctor.

The solution proposed is to take away a few years off the process by approximately shortening each stage by 30%. It has been argued that the four years of premedical training shouldn’t be required, especially to those who can’t afford it. They also argue that fourth year is too simple, and in reality it should only be a three-year program.

I don’t know the exact solution but I think that there is a way to shorten the time needed to become a fully qualified doctor.  It would be a step in the right direction if we reconsidered the way we conduct medical education.

Why Doctors Rating Are Misleading 

“Making too much of online doctor ratings may lead physicians to do things that conflict with their professional judgment.” Dr. Richard Gunderman

Although the introduction of physician-rating sites has been a benefit to patients, and some doctors, it is often unreliable, and can be dangerous to make too much of them. The author of this article, Dr. Richard Gunderman, regularly receives emails concerning his online reputation. Often these emails are from online vendors.

Many uninformed patients will use doctors’ ratings to assist them in finding a family doctor. There is a very low participation on these sites, which allows for any disgruntled patient to pollute a physician’s rating with their experience. As these ratings become more influential, there will be a greater temptation for doctors to manipulate scores artificially.

I’m aware that the doctor ratings that represent a tiny fraction of all the patients I see but at a first glance it can be alarming. More education is needed to educate the public that doctor ratings can be misleading in both directions.

Dr. Danielle Martin Gives Washington a lesson on Canadian Health Care

During the debate about Obamacare, I was encouraged to see Dr. Martin stand up with a strong voice for the Canadian Health care system. Although our system is not perfect, she made point to address the strong points in our system, as well as providing a great rebuttal to some of the tough questions she was faced with.

Dr. Martin clearly compared and contrasted the differences between both American and Canadian Health Care Plans, and made a point to address that Canada does not discriminate over whom shall receive health care based on what one can pay. She also made clear that the faults in our system are not to blame on one single person, but rather on the nature of the system.

I am very thankful to live in Canada and to have access to affordable health care and to be able to serve patients of all income levels. Although our system is not perfect, and could use some improvements, we are further ahead than other countries.

What is the Best Way to Choose Residents?

I was intrigued when I came across this article, as I too wonder what the best way is in regards to choosing residents. It wasn’t too surprising to hear that “grades” was a common method to tell if an applicant would become a successful resident or not.

A survey was conducted by the Journal of Surgical Education, and it discovered that the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) step 1, was the most common screening tool. Many doctors are aware that a good score on this exam gives you a one up over other residents. However, is this a good way to screen for good residents?

As many know, Google is a successful company, and you may be surprised to know, they don’t care much about grades at all! Senior vice president of people operations, Laszlo Bock feels that, “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation.”

I am encouraged to see that various companies are realizing that grades are not a good reflection on whether or not someone will be successful. Although it is important to show that you are well educated, grades are not good predictors or screening tools. I wonder if in the future we will see a shift away from using USMLE scores as a screening tool, and instead focusing on other characteristics when choosing residents.

Why Doctors Act on Tradition and Emotion Over Science 

“Cardiologists have been remarkably slow to abandon the old hypothesis—as many as 85 percent of angioplasties are elective and not emergencies.” David S. Jones

As new research on health is emerging, it is astonishing to find that doctors are disregarding the new evidence, and putting up an emotional reluctance to change old habits. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association brings up the point that doctors are turning a blind eye to new evidence that could potentially change people lives.

On study asked cardiologist why they continued to recommend elective bypass and angioplasty despite new research showing there were other more effective options. The answers from cardiologists on this issue were surprising. Almost all their reasoning was purely emotion, not medical.

I can relate to the difficulty and resistant faced when trying to adopt new habits. However, when physicians have a duty to keep up with the latest research and adopt new standards. It is important as a doctor to understand that we need to be open and flexible to change.


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Stress Management Tips

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Portrait of tired young business woman with laptop computer at tDo you ever think you have it all together …until you don’t. Do you ever feel like things are going smoothly and then life gets in the way? Do you ever feel on top of the world and then something happens that breaks your heart or stretches you to the brink emotionally? The last couple of weeks of my life have been like this.

Everything was going along well and then my mother in law suffered a massive bleed to the brain and the week dramatically changed course. My husband and I tried to spread our time between work, being there for our son and being with her at the hospital. The stress level was running high, and to be honest still is. Sadly, she recently passed away.

Now the stress is different but still very real.  As I was dragging my way through the last couple of weeks I thought about how I could set myself up to better handle the stress.

The following tips that I will share over the next few weeks are some strategies that helped stabilize my energy so I could be there for the people I love and still be capable of doing a great job for my patients. We live in a high paced, high achievement and high energy culture. It is easy to fall victim to over-living and under-appreciating our lives which inevitably leads to a chronic constant stress. When tragedy strikes it can add acute stress on top of this and the combination can lead to out of control stress levels and eventual burnout.

Stress is a common and natural part of our lives, but sustained stress without a clear plan of self-management will lead to burnout. If we do not strategically plan to rejuvenate our emotional and physical lives, our productivity will decrease and our personal joy will evaporate.

The longer we are constantly stressed, the harder it is to shift to a less-stressed mode. Over time, the connections in our brain that produce the feeling of calm become weaker. Our bodies need time to relax and rejuvenate on a regular basis so it can activate the daily restoration process. I will share 10 stress management tips over the next couple of blogs. The following five stress management techniques are designed to help you find a sustainable rhythm in the demands and discord of everyday life.

5 Stress Management Tips

Tip #1: Get Up Early
My favorite and the most important time of my day, starts at the crack of dawn. Every weekday, I wake up at 5:00 am for my hour of energy. It can be tough to drag myself out of bed at that time, but I know how incredibly empowering it is to start the day with exercise, meditation, and journaling.

This time to myself helps me better handle the stress of the upcoming day. I set a solid intention for how I want the day to unfold. Instead of rushing out the door feeling on edge, I have a plan and peace of mind. It is both calming and energizing.

Tip # 2: Do Some Exercise

We know that exercise is so important for our health and well-being, but often struggle to make it a priority. We’ve told ourselves the same excuses so often that we start to believe them. To avoid letting time be an obstacle to your exercise you have to schedule it. Don’t wait for an opening in your day. If you can, try to exercise in the morning because things will happen during the day that can alter your plans to exercise later.

If you feel like you don’t have the energy to exercise, then try to commit to going for a five minute walk or lifting weights for a few minutes. If you can get started you’ll often find some untapped energy and be able to continue a bit longer. The benefits of exercising cannot be overstated. It helps lower your stress levels, improves your mood, and can make you more productive. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your stress levels drop when you begin to make exercise a priority.

A recent study showed that people who exercise feel like they are better able to handle their work life balance. I think this is because when you take the time for something that is healthy for you, you feel encouraged that you are on top of things and that you can handle anything that comes your way.

Tip # 3:  Relaxation Techniques

relaxing songs for meditationThe key benefit of practicing relaxing and rejuvenating activities is lowering your stress levels. Meditation, yoga or deep breathing are ways to relax and rejuvenate at the same time.

While I have found meditation helpful in reducing my stress and grounding me each day, it was not easy to get into the practice. I’ve heard from many people that meditation doesn’t work for them. They can’t focus their attention for more than a second or they fall asleep while repeating Om. However, I have learned that not only does mediation become easier with practice, but by trying a more active form of meditation, it can help to groove the practice into your life more quickly and successfully.

Tip #4: Preparation is Key

One of the ways you can lower the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis is by being prepared. Being prepared requires some amount of organization, and planning.  One way you can do this, is by preparing everything the night before so you don’t have to think of anything the next morning. This preparation can include things such as, laying out the clothes you will wear in the morning, preparing your lunch, and packing your briefcase for the next day.

I am also a firm believer that we must do a brain dump. Get the list of what you need to accomplish out of your head and onto paper.  If will be much easier for you to accomplish your tasks that day, if you make a list, and check them off as they are completed.

Tip #5: Do One Thing at a Time

In an effort to juggle our roles as entrepreneurs, spouses, parents, and friends we often try to multitask. We are texting during dinner time, or thinking about a company problem while spending time with a friend. While we may think we are getting things done faster, the research shows that multitasking leads to lower overall productivity.

Try doing just one thing at a time. Really be in that moment, immerse yourself in it and see if it is more enjoyable. Live your life. Really love your life, one moment at a time. Don’t waste your energy trying to do everything at once.

Hopefully these tips will help you to lower your daily stress levels. I will share 5 other great tips in an upcoming blog. Please comment and let us know some of the things you do to reduce stress. And is you found this useful please share with others

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By Dr. Carolyn Anderson

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A Bittersweet Mother’s Day

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

mothers-day Mother’s Day can be such a bittersweet time. It is a special day to celebrate our mothers, but for those of us who have lost our mothers, did not have a caring mother, or have not been able to experience the joys of motherhood despite trying it can be a painful reminder.

This Mother’s Day will be my third year without my beloved mom and my sixth as a mother myself. I miss my mom everyday but there are certain days like her birthday, Christmas and Mother’s day where her absence is felt more strongly.

I remember my very first Mother’s Day as a mom myself in 2009. My son had surprised us by being six weeks early, so the first three months leading up to Mother’s Day that first year had been more stressful than I even anticipated. We were not sleeping, I was pumping like a mad woman, and we were anxiously awaiting him to top the scales at seven pounds.

I remember that my brother and sister came in from out of town to spend the day with us and my Mom was there also. I have this great picture of us (well great of everyone else, I looked like I was still pregnant with really bad hair and blotchy skin) in the backyard. Nicholas was so small yet so cute.

I don’t remember much else about that day but I do remember how I felt. I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I was experiencing motherhood for myself. I also remember really appreciating my own Mom more than I ever had before. Up until the prior year, I wasn’t sure that becoming a mother was ever going to happen to me. We had been trying, and to be honest, I had just about given up on this dream until that amazing day when I peed on a stick that finally turned blue.

Growing up with my own wonderful mother gave me a lot to look up to. She had always been there for me, and always encouraged me to go after all my dreams. She was so strong and kind. Even when she had struggles with her personal life or health, she always seemed to rise above it to a place of hope, beauty, and wisdom. Whenever I was scared, she would comfort me, whenever I was anxious she would calm me, and whenever I needed an ear she would listen. As I got older she became more than my mom, she became one of my closest friends. Mom-piano

While I miss her every day, I’m grateful for the legacy she left me and my brother and sister. She lives on in our memories, hearts and stories. I recently came across a woman who also recently lost her mother and started a company where she records peoples’ stories on film to live on for generations. I wish I had thought to record more pictures and videos of my mom over the years. I would love to see her in action and would especially love to show my son his beloved grandma so he never forgets the way she absolutely adored him.

My mom’s terminal cancer diagnosis was so unexpected that in her remaining months of treatments and palliative care, we didn’t think to record more memories of her. And even if I had thought to do that, I wanted to remember her when she was vibrant and happy, and I think she wanted the same. What I am forever grateful for is the amazing times we did have while she lived with us in those last months of her life on this planet. I feel blessed that I did have the insight to realize that in a few short months I would give anything to be able to talk to her. I knew I had to embrace every single moment. When she was feeling well, we would really be together laughing, talking and sharing. It is forever imprinted on my heart. Yet, I do still wish I would have captured on film more examples of the incredible woman my mom was before she was sick.

On this Mother’s Day, I would encourage you to spend the day with your loved ones and make some mental and physical memories. One day your children will want to reminisce and look at old pictures and videos of you and them together. They won’t care that you never lost those 10 pounds of baby weight, that your hair was a mess or that you no longer have time to follow the latest clothing trends.

If you’re blessed enough to still have your mom, take some time to shift the camera or video camera off the kids, and ask her for her favorite Mother’s Day story and other memories. We never know what the future holds and I think that being mindful of recording memories is a way to make sure that we and our children have something to always remember us by.

Postscript- I had written this blog and it was ready to publish when my mother-in-law had a massive bleed in her brain. Sadly, we are not sure if she will stil be with us on this Mother’s day. It’s a tragic reminder to cherish the time we do have with our loved ones.

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