Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Unchanging One

I have been so refreshed by so many things in this time of rest.  We have not experienced a Spring in Spokane for years; I forgot how many trees flower in the Spring in this city.  The beauty is captivating me.  I have found so much Scripture to be an encouragement to me. It is remarkable how timeless is the word of God; thousands of years has not made the words irrelevant.  I find the words of the Bible lead me to hope, to peace, to trust, to appreciation, to joy…to Jesus, the One who loves me beyond my wildest dreams.

As we all know, our experience here on earth is not at all like God (who is the same yesterday, today and forever); I find many things changing.  One of those things in medicine.  I am wrestling with whether or not I should continue to practice medicine.  I feel sad that I do not see a place in the current medical profession where I fit.  The concept of health is something that still excites me, particularly when I think of holistic health (physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, relational health).  Yet, when I am in the midst of working in medicine, I seem to lose sight of that which inspires me (the passion seems to drain away).  I have been trying to understand this.  Recently I stumbled across this article:

               "Excerpted from “How Being a Doctor Became the Most Miserable Profession,” The Daily Beast commentary by Daniela Drake, MD, MBA, April 14, 2014 — By the end of this year, it’s estimated that 300 physicians will commit suicide. While depression amongst physicians is not new—a few years back, it was named the second-most suicidal occupation—the level of sheer unhappiness amongst physicians is on the rise. Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking.
Not surprisingly, many doctors want out. In fact, physicians are so bummed out that 9 out of 10 doctors would discourage anyone from entering the profession. It’s hard for anyone outside the profession to understand just how rotten the job has become—and what bad news that is for America’s health care system.
Unfortunately, things are only getting worse for most doctors, especially those who still accept health insurance. To make ends  meet, physicians have had to increase the number of patients they see. The end result is that the average face-to-face clinic visit lasts about 12 minutes. Neither patients nor doctors are happy about that. What worries many doctors, however, is that the Affordable Care Act has codified this broken system into law. While forcing everyone to buy health insurance, ACA might have mandated a uniform or streamlined claims procedure that would have gone a long way to improving access to care.
Yet physicians have to go along, constantly trying to improve their “productivity” and patient satisfaction scores—or risk losing their jobs. And now that Medicare payments will be tied to patient satisfaction—this problem will get worse. Doctors need to have the ability to say no. If not, when patients go to see the doctor, they won’t actually have a physician—they’ll have a hostage.
Almost comically, the response of medical leadership—their solution— is to call for more physician testing. In fact, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)—in its own act of hostage-taking—has decided that in addition to being tested every ten years, doctors must comply with new, costly, "two year milestones." In an era when nurse practitioners and physician assistants have shown that they can provide excellent primary care, it’s nonsensical to raise the barriers for physicians to participate. It is  tone deaf. It is punitive. It is wrong. No wonder doctors are suicidal. No wonder young doctors want nothing to do with primary care. But for America’s health to be safeguarded, the wellbeing of America’s caretakers is going to have to start mattering to someone."

I don’t necessarily share all the views of this commentator, and I certainly know some providers who have found a way to rise above it and to serve with joy, but I realized that I might not be the only physician struggling with losing my joy in my profession.  It may take me some time to sort this out, and truly, I am content whatever I am supposed to do.  For now, I am a wife and a mother and a friend and a sister and a neighbor…and a daughter of the Most High King.  That is enough.  And He is good; and I am free to live under the umbrella of His love and goodness; and I am thankful.

So, now you know some of the things rattling around in this brain of mine.  Thanks for listening.

:-) Kimberly

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