Today’s Post was written by Rebecca Lubelzyk MD. Rebecca works in the Massachusetts prison system. She is a past president of the American College of Correctional Physicians and the editor of CorrDocs, the official publication of ACCP. This article was originally published in CorrDocs.
I’m on a medical school listserve that publishes writings and academic accomplishments of faculty and students. One week, a mindfulness moment was added to address the stress that physicians feel. The well-intentioned addition brought forth a fairly online virulent discussion about the non-medicine stress that disgruntled physicians feel every day, and how a “mindful moment” will do little to change the extreme performance demands generally imposed upon our profession.
I followed the discussion peripherally but with interest. It was clear all the contributors were dedicated professionals who loved their patients and providing care to them and their families. However, the bitterness towards the insurance/compensation/financial system was prevalent.
How bad it was “out there” became even more apparent when I had a prospective physician shadow me in clinic for a day. I explained how there can be several benefits to correctional medicine (your “no show” rates are essentially nil, patients have their blood pressures and blood sugars checked by a nurse, diets, commissary purchases can be reviewed in detail, etc.) I expressly noted the unique challenges, including the requests for non-medical items or privileges as well as the negative attitudes one encounters when the patient doesn’t want to hear the word “no”.
The physician candidate surprised me, stating that it was the same on the outside. Continue reading