Can I Run Something By You?

There is a certain satisfaction in a simple curbside consult. A colleague seeking me out to ask a question about a complex patient always makes my day. It’s the discussion, the intellectual exercise, and the ability to quickly help a colleague that leaves me feeling like I was meant to be a doctor. And there’s nothing to chart afterward! If only the rest of my practice was that simple and rewarding. 

I’m guessing this message reaches you at a complex time in your career. Our experiences over the last year have caused a great deal of introspection about our lives as physicians. Everything seems to be in question, whether it be the type of work we do, where and when we work, or how our jobs are structured.  

One recurring theme that I hear in my conversations is that the love of medicine is still there; it’s just that the environment in which it’s practiced that is becoming increasingly difficult. The demands, especially during this pandemic, keep increasing. It feels like we are collapsing under the weight of a bureaucracy that only gains heft, while patient care is the loser in a zero-sum game.  

This isn’t what we signed up for, and it has physicians looking outward for professional opportunities. Some will find a home outside of healthcare. And while I certainly applaud those with the courage to start over in a career that brings them more fulfillment, the loss of every physician is a small tragedy. The downstream effects on patients and populations are felt for years to come.  

I truly believe the answer is not to leave the profession entirely. We’ve worked too hard, and we’ve given so much to acquire our valuable expertise. We need to find more enjoyable and meaningful ways to apply that knowledge. Even spending a portion of our time, on our terms, in a way that fulfills us can be life-changing.  

Beyond your employer or your patients, there is a whole world of people out there that wants to tap into your expertise. Our goal is to help them find you and allow them to access your hard-earned knowledge easily. Now imagine a whole community of engaged experts like you, ready to help. Imagine a million curbside consults, unlimited by geography or communication barriers. The collective influence we can have to improve healthcare is limitless. 

We are so excited you’ve joined us here. We will be using this space to communicate thoughts and ideas as we grow. Would you please leave your thoughts on this post and the ones that follow to create a dialogue? 

We look forward to listening to you, working with you, and helping you capitalize on the expertise you’ve worked so hard to develop.  

Ara Feinstein, MD, MPH, FACS 

Senior Medical Advisor 

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