Tuesday, 25 Feb 2020

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A Rheumatologist’s “Quality of Life”

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”  - Henry David Thoreau

I think of this quote from time to time when I tell my patient’s that I empathize with them. I understand that they do not want a rheumatologic condition, nor do they want to take our medications and are disheartened when I tell them that we have no cures. But, if we flip that proverbial coin over, my goal for their care is to improve their quality of life.

In rheumatology, we have many ways to accomplish that goal for our patients; from medication management to advocacy and support groups for patients and loved ones. But what are you doing at work or home to improve YOUR quality of life and the lives of those around you?

Here are 8 things to consider for your QOL:

  1.  Like medical school – be passionately curious. Sage rheumatologist, Dr. Bernie Rubin, has been quoted as saying “the real fellowship begins after fellowship.” Surround yourself with supportive, but challenging partners. They will help you grow.
  2.  Listen. Listen to your staff, your partners, your patients. Everyone is busy, but show up and listen.
  3. Sit down. Not only will you be perceived as spending more time with your patients, but direct eye contact allows people to know that you are present. Bonus, you are not stuck behind your computer/EHR.
  4.   Make your environment as friendly as possible. Provide a comfortable temp (consider blankets in examination rooms with fickle AC), consider local art work and patient pamphlets or magazines, and free water bottles. These small changes can make a world of difference.
  5. Eat. We all know that rheumatology fellowship is the best because we like good food and had time to eat it. Make some time in your busy day to eat.
  6. Exercise. If you are telling your patient’s to do it, be a good example.
  7. Laugh! It is the best medicine after all.
  8. Thank your staff and your partners. They work hard and we can’t do our jobs without them.

Life should be worth living, and it begins with you.  

What would you add to this list?

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

Rachel Tate, DO is in clinical practice at Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates of Palm Beach. Her areas of interest include patient advocacy, musculoskeletal ultrasound, pregnancy in connective tissue disease, and spondyloarthropathies.

Rheumatologists' Comments

on point! don't forget to sleep...
take good vitamins! We all know vit d and b12 makes you feel better, but good luck getting enough from your diet, have supplements available in your lunch room - you are more likely to take them there!