The thought of writing my thoughts down on a piece of paper has never been really appealing to me. Or, at least not until recently. I’m not one for formal Journaling, but maybe more doodling and list-making. Why would this be important? Throughout multiple conversations and scrolling through posts the past few days, I have been reminded that, even though I know this, we as physicians have many different skill sets. We learn multiple things in medical school and residency that are translatable to other areas. Sometimes it is only through cathartic writing or list making that we can put these ideas and skills on paper. They become visible. They are reminder that we, or I, are more than just a physician. We are complex human beings with multiple talents. There is more than just clinical medicine. There is more than just medicine. The skill sets that we have that we embody can be translated to business, and other areas. For example, when we discuss treatment options as physicians with patients, of course it is shared decision-making and ultimately the patient’s choice. However, as physicians, we want to ensure the patient makes an informed choice. It is our ability to utilize motivational interviewing to unlock possible roadblocks, hindrances, fears of patients or even to get to the root cause of why something can or cannot exist, or is or is not.

The big question then, is why? Why is Journaling, not always using full or complete sentences, important? I think, for me, it is more of clearing my headspace and writing my ideas down…writing down things that maybe are important. The idea of skill set was just an example of what might get me to write. For other colleagues and human beings, it might be a cathartic way to release emotions or to start a healing journey. There is truly power in the pen.

Another thing is that we are more than just physicians. We need not tie our complete identity into being a physician. Even though it is our profession, and for many a passion, we have to remember that it is only a part of what we do. There are multiple relationships that we have in life such as adult-child, parent, Caregiver, spouse, friend, sibling. We are complex human beings. We have interests outside of medicine, such as different hobbies. In the past , mine have included traveling, hiking, and reading. For a while, I did not have very many hobbies due to being consumed by work. I regained some of my identity and authentic self by starting to write down what I needed in life, how I wanted to achieve that, and having that discussion with people I trusted. My interests have changed and grown with how I have grown as a person. I have also moved away from just identifying myself by my profession. I’m a complex person with multiple interests, and being a physician is only one of the many things that I do.

The Power Of Thought And The Pen &Raquo; Image Asset

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Sapna Shah-Haque Internal Medicine Physician

Dr. Sapna Shah-Haque, MD is a board certified Internal Medicine physician. She was born and raised in Kansas, and attended medical school at the University of Kansas [KU] School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at KU-Wichita as well. After experiencing burnout herself, and watching other physician colleagues burn out, it became a passion of hers to look into different aspects of burnout. While the system does need to change, as it is broken, this podcast is a way to reach physicians and possibly shed light on what is not an isolated situation.