It’s that time of year again—crunchy leaves, pumpkin-spice everything, long sleeves and waning days. As we approach yet another holiday season, something else comes to mind. Gratitude. Giving thanks. The importance of ‘counting your blessings’. We hear a lot about that this time of year (alongside advertisements for Black Friday deals,) but it got me thinking, “Why only now? Why not everyday?” And instead of simply ‘giving’ thanks, why not focus on ‘finding thanks?’
So what does that mean? Being grateful always sounds so simple. ‘Be happy with what you have. Look for the silver lining.’ I heard both numerous times growing up, and it seemed easy enough. I was blessed to have a loving and supportive family, with a beautiful roof over my head. I attended a great school and I am privileged to have a career as a physician. But like so many of my colleagues, I struggle with stress, and multifaceted pressure. The specter of burnout looms large, but from a thirty-thousand-foot view, all should be well. So why isn’t it?
Physicians nowadays are squeezed on many fronts. Erosion of autonomy, regulatory burdens such as prior authorization, and the ever-present fear of being named in a lawsuit have made the practice of medicine complicated and stressful. We’ve all heard the importance of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘resilience,’ but like telling an obese patient to just ‘go on a diet,’ making the rubber meet the road is easier said than done.
So where to turn? What to do? There are many answers, but two things I’ve always found personally helpful are random acts of kindness and lifting up my colleagues. The first is self-explanatory, but the second is more complex. Of course, acknowledging a ‘good save’ or having made a challenging diagnosis is always helpful, but I’m thinking of something more, something that’s been lost over the time: the physician community.
Think about it. With social media, we’re more connected than ever, yet in many ways, we’ve never been further apart. An antidote to that is our county medical society. Not just a place to ‘hang out’ or a ‘social club,’ the Montgomery County Medical Society is here to serve the patients and physicians of Montgomery County.
Now, you might be wondering in this day and age, and with the rise of physician employment, just what is a county medical society for? There are many answers to that, too, but for me, one of the biggest benefits of membership is the opportunity to be involved. Advocacy, camaraderie, the ability to interact and network with motivated colleagues—all of these help recharge one’s batteries. And with recent developments like the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ending the statute of limitations on filing malpractice suits, we need to stay united now more than ever.
So to our members, I would like to say a heartfelt ‘thank you.’ Thank you for standing together, for taking the time from your busy schedules and lives to remain a part of our county physician community. An organization is only as strong as those who participate, and we are grateful for each and every one of you. Your presence, and continued commitment, helps me take the time every day to ‘find thanks.’