16 Golden Rules of Medicine

Session 50

Session 50

This episode marks the 50th session of the podcast and so Ryan starts it off by reciting the modern version of the Hippocratic Oath, which is being used in many medical schools today when physicians graduate at the end of medical school.

In the light of celebrating the podcast's 50th episode, Ryan and Allison talk about the 16 Golden Rules of Medicine (as suggested by Academy member Jessica).

Another reason to celebrate for hitting the 100th 5-star ratings in iTunes! (In fact, it's 101). So thank you for all these great reviews!

Now let's jump right into the 16 Golden Rules of Medicine:

  1. First, do no harm.

Your job is to treat the patients, not harm them. Don't do something that has a high potential of hurting them.

  1. Always be professional.

You will be working with other professionals so show respect that your colleagues and patients deserve. Even in difficult and taxing situations, always remember that you are a physician and you're taking care of other people. Do not lose your cool.

  1. Show respect for everyone you work with.

Be respectful with everybody including from colleagues to the nurses and the janitors because every one of them plays a crucial role in the hospital.

  1. Always acknowledge your mistakes with patients. Don’t be dishonest with your team or your patients.

Some states have “I'm sorry” laws wherein a patient can't sue you and use your apology as testimony in the court. But you can't hide mistakes from patients.

  1. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people.

There is such a high rate of burnout to people who are in the profession of putting other people first over themselves. You have to be of sound mind and health to be able to take care of another person.

  1. Don’t go searching for zebras. Always think about what is the most common and likely diagnosis.

Thinking out of the box is good but don't get so off-target that you're missing the whole point.

  1. Don’t order a test just because you can bill for it.

Ask yourself if results from this test will change your medical management of that patient. If not, don’t order it. Always think about the patient first.

  1. Don’t start drinking alcohol or doing drugs when you’re stressed or burned out – get help!

Go talk to somebody. Seek help. Resorting to drugs or alcohol will only get you in big trouble with the risk of losing everything you've worked so hard to do for so long.

  1. Go with your gut.

When someone doesn’t look good or something is not going well, speak up. Get help. Trust your instincts. Use your gut not in the sense of diagnosing the patient, but to notice that the patient just doesn't look right and use that to dig a little bit deeper. Learn to master your sixth sense.

  1. Get help from those with more experience when you need it.

Don't just rely on yourself when you think you need help. Always use your resources as a physician.

  1. Don’t argue with your colleagues from other departments/services.

We’re all on the same team and arguing in the chart is a big legal no-no. You might be needing help from those other services at some point.

  1. Always document EVERYTHING.

If it wasn’t documented, in the legal world, it never happened. If something goes wrong, they always go back to the charts. Every conversation you have with a patient or with any family meeting, or in your daily notes, always document things that happened in medicine.

  1. Be careful about giving out medical advice to family and friends.

If the person is not your patient and something goes wrong, you can be held liable. Don't feel bad to say you're uncomfortable trying to diagnose them over the phone or even in person especially if there is no opportunity to examine them.

  1. When dealing with difficult patients, always keep in mind that it’s not personal.

The patient in front of you may be having the worst day of their life or have serious psychological problems. Never assume what you never know. Just do the best you can for them as a doctor.

  1. Don’t offer something to a patient that you don’t think makes sense.

For example, if a patient is terminally ill and not going to benefit from any additional therapy, don’t offer the patient or the patient’s family a surgery that will not help. Be careful not to offer “pizza toppings.”

  1. Always try to abide by the principle of beneficence.

Beneficence means doing something that will promote the wellbeing of the patient. Even if you can’t heal the patient or cure his/her disease, you can treat the patient with kindness and offer a listening ear. “Sometimes a kind word is stronger than a chemist's drug or a surgeon's knife.”

Links and Other Resources:

Check out Jared Easley's Starve the Doubts Podcast

Session 47 – Interview with Dr. Drummond about Physician Burnout

Modern Version of the Hippocratic Oath

Save $225 on the Princeton Review's MCAT Ultimate or MCAT Self-Paced Prep Course through March 30th 2016 by going to www.princetonreview.com/podcast

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