Let’s face it -- practicing oncology is super stressful.
Especially when I first started.
I was a newly-minted oncologist.
The healthcare system was the healthcare system.
In all its documenting "glory."
And I let it get to me.
Couldn't really talk to anyone about it.
Many days, I would live for the moment I could go home and binge-watch ESPN.
I’d go through my day as a zombie robot.
“Next patient, next patient, next patient.”
It didn’t help that all I did was type.
Type all day.
More eye contact with a damn screen.
"What brings you in today Mr. Johnson, oh sorry, Mrs. Johnson!"
And then 3 hours at the end of the day to do more charting.
It’s was all about charting and documenting.
Documenting and charting.
The EMR screamed, "Feed me, Steven, feed me!"
I was like, “Another patient. Only 5 more until I hit my morning quota of 18."
But I got help.
From a patient.
She said, put that laptop away -- it's killing you."
She was right.
She took my hand and led me to the promised land.
Where I always put patients first.
Really connecting with them.
Being fully present with them.
I resuscitated my passion for oncology.
I reconnected deeply with all my patients.
I vowed to never again put a computer between me and a patient.
And I never did.
I got an amazing scribe.
All eye contact -- all the time.
Work and play became harder to differentiate.
I'm still alive.