This tweet literally took on a life of its own.
To date, it’s amassed the most likes (86K times & growing), retweets (9.9K times & growing) and comments I’ve ever received. There are both positive and negative responses. I guess it’s a hot topic. I thought about deleting it, but nah…….
What I thought was an adorable, light-hearted conversation between me and my youngest child, turned out to spark a national conversation on female versus male doctors. The truth is, in 2018, as a black and female physician, I’m still a unicorn; a unicorn in the sense that many people may feel that I’m still a mystical and magical creature, one who doesn’t really exist in this world of discrimination, the #metoo movement, and, particularly for me in the South, with the “good ol’ boy” mentality that still exists. Being a role model for my children, who are both girls, is necessary. I also co-own my practice, which means my daughters have the opportunity to see me in a leadership role and I hope are proud when they come to the clinic to see mommy in action.
My husband is incredible and always has been supportive of what makes me happy and fulfilled in business, life and love. He (and I, for that matter) doesn’t necessarily identify with the label “feminist,” but he understands the importance of women knowing that they are valued and can accomplish any and everything they want. He wants our daughters to know they are beautiful, brilliant and capable–equal to or better than any man on this planet and universe. And, I’m proud of that.
So, when my 5yo asks if “men can be doctors, too,” it’s because of what she sees around her. Her mommy is a female doctor, many of her “Aunties” and loved ones (including her god-mother) are female doctors or professionals, and her Pediatrician is a female doctor. This is normal for her. I don’t want her to have an invisible ceiling. F– that.
And, in this day and age, I’m proud of that.
So, why is the time flying?!!! I feel like we were just planning New Year New You 2018. *deep breath*, time really does fly when you are having fun.
How have you all been? Hopefully, October, and the great year of 2018, have been treating you well. I am excited to share that New Year New You 2019 tickets are now on sale!
All of the conference info is available on Eventbrite (www.nyny2019.eventbrite.com), where you can buy your ticket, and the Facebook event page (Facebook Page), where you can follow along for special announcements!
Our keynote speaker:
Fearless Goddess Entrepreneur.
My girl, Kalilah Wright, CEO of MESS in a Bottle, hailing from Brooklyn, by way of Baltimore, will be blessing us with her wisdom and knowledge for the New Year. She’ll talk about how she made it over! Join us; you don’t wanna miss her!
We’re also happy to collab with Spa Utopia – Luxury Travel Spa (A Division of Utopia Living) & N’aya Powell for a VIP experience like no other during our conference.
The VIP ticket will provide:
-Spa Utopia Pamper Suite Experience-
Includes: mini Utopian Body Aromatherapy gift bag (mist, tea, chocolate) and choice of one of the following spa services:
20 min – aromatherapy table massage or
20 min – aromatherapy reflexology (foot massage)
Ms. Powell will also share with us from her topic, “Utopia Living – 10 Daily Habits -To an Intentional You”
They will have products in tow for sale, including Utopian Body/Living products, bath salts & more
Buy one, or get a couple for your girlfriends as gifts.
Only 50 spots available!
Stay tuned for upcoming announcements of our special guest panel and swag bag participants coming soon!
Breast cancer, unfortunately, has affected each one of us in some type of way. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, with breast cancer being second highest types of cancer in the US. Breast cancer affects both females and males, and it is important that we stay in tune with our bodies so we can recognize some typical signs.
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
- Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
- Pain in any area of the breast.
All breast cancer information was retrieved from the CDC which can be found here.
Take care and be blessed,
This is right on time.
In the news, media and professional organizations, work-life balance and burnout is all the rage. I’m proud to introduce the 2nd volume of our work to you, released by my publishing company (Swiner Publishing Co.) which became a #1 Amazon best-seller this month: Thinking About Quitting Medicine, vol. 2!
It highlights the struggles that medical and dental providers go through in figuring out what they really want to be when they “grow up.” Don’t be turned away, though, because it’s not just for the medical field. It speaks to a broader issue of burnout that all of us can experience in life and work. Here’s an excerpt from our book, including our Intro and my Chapter about my personal life.
It feels so good to be back here!
Your response to Volume 1 was out of this world. From showing up to support our visionary physician authors across platforms to showing up at the book launches in Atlanta and Durham, you have let us know that we are tuning in to your frequency. You are Thinking About Quitting Medicine and you are ready to do more than bellyache about it. You yearn to feel alive and passionate and in love with each new day again. You long to feel that sense of pride after each task completed as it feels connected to your higher purpose.
You want that feeling of fulfillment that is spreading through the internet world, but you can’t seem to figure out how to manifest that in this life, this hospital, this clinic, this call room, this phone call, this procedure. Maybe you’re bogged down from the new EMR with each hospital administration change. Maybe you’re over the 18-year-old-sounding snarky insurance guy that you get to talk to before you work your way up the chain of command. It shouldn’t bother you as much as it does. It’s a little thing added on to so many other little things and it feels like death by a thousand cuts.
In numbing the stress of the day grind out you may have shut out your emotions and somewhere along the journey forgotten how to turn them back on.
This is the place where the culture and media will throw around phrases like imposter syndrome, emotional exhaustion, burnout, stress-induced executive dysfunction and roll out charts and checklists.
This is not that book. Our physicians dug deep and found the courage to tell their stories and serve as their contribution to the world. Sure, they may pepper the above phrases into their lives here and there, these phenomena are real and there is no denying the physician suicide crisis.
In this book we bring you a reminder that there are other ways to interpret your current situation with an eye on the possibilities. Each physician-author’s deeply moving vignette takes you through what they felt that led them to think about quitting medicine. In each journey, you’ll discover that despite fears similar to yours, setbacks, trials, and tribulations, they chose to continue to believe. They chose to continue to imagine and to walk in their purpose.
We welcome you to volume two. We invite you to join our authors on the Thinking About Quitting Medicine page where you can continue to build a deeper relationship with each of them. Come share your story with our docs so they can help you see what’s possible for you.
Thank you once again for your continued support.
Nicole and Mani
Voted 1 of 10 Best Doctors in NC in 2017, DocSwiner is a family physician, two-time best-selling author, blogger, speaker, wife and mother in Durham. She is also affectionately known as the Superwoman Complex expert and has written two best-selling books on the topic. She loves taking care of the family as a whole—from the cradle to the grave. Her interests include minority health, women’s health, self-care and entrepreneurship. She attended Duke University and went to medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. She’s lived in the Triangle (Durham, NC) since finishing residency at UNC-Chapel Hill and continues teaching as an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Family Medicine department. When she’s not treating patients at Durham Family Medicine, she’s speaking locally and nationally, blogging, teaching others to self-publish and spending time with her family. Her passion is making medicine “plain” to her patients, so that all people, from all walks of life, can understand how to take better care of themselves and their families. She often blogs, guest blogs and speaks locally and nationally on these and other topics. She is also available as an influencer and brand ambassador, as she’s previously represented SheBuysCars, Hyundai, prAna clothing, DurhamKnows HIV awareness and Scarlet Myth Cosmetics. Contact her at email@example.com for further information.
S: 40-year-old (still) full-time doc, publisher, speaker & consultant, continuing to seek joy and balance in work, family and love.
O: Happy, yet not settling for contentment. Still working on “baby” weight five years later, but unashamedly enjoying good food and wine. All faculties secure and intact.
A: Superwoman (#nosuperwoman) in full effect
P: Has given up on the myth of work-life balance, and now will work on more work-life integration. Here’s how:
I turned 40 this year, thank God. Leading up to this milestone birthday, I wondered what kind of emotional and mental changes I’d experience. Nothing much changed, except for my tolerance and patience, a bit. I now know what I want out of life and work, and I’ll fight my hardest to achieve.
Today, as I write, on 7/23/18 at 4pm, two (a mother and daughter pair) of my most challenging patients “let me have it.” They’ve noticed that I’m no longer in clinic on Mondays and Fridays, and on days that I am here, I’ve included some telemedicine slots with my clinic appointments. The elderly mother is none-too-pleased, as she mentions that I should have “thought about that before I went to medical school, if you wanted to work less and take more time off.” Two or three years ago, this would have upset me at the thought that she felt I should let my career and patients control me and my happiness in this way. Today, I laughed to myself and to her middle –aged daughter, who looked at me apologetically and was horrified that her mother would talk to me in such a way. I patted the daughter’s knee and reassured her that I was ok with it, and just said I was “unbothered.” The truth is, I understand and understood where the mother is coming from—she’s used to the old fashioned doctor (and, the old fashioned me) that was at her every beckoning call, would freely work her into the schedule whenever she needed and drop all things to make her happy, even while she was being belligerent to me and the staff at times. The new practicing physician in me now knows that I’m worth more than that.
I’m not going to explain to every one of my patients (I will to some if asked in the right fashion) why I’m making the decision to cut back to three days a week in clinic and work from the home the other two; but I will explain to you. As I finish this chapter, sitting next to my co-founder, Mani, on a Friday morning, in DC at Busboys and Poets (a restaurant and bar I’ve always wanted to come to), I feel blessed. I’m trying to create a lifestyle and career in which I can work remotely. My kids are now in Kindergarten and second grade, and I’d love to be home more for them and go on some field trips. I’m loving the career consulting and publishing work I’ve been doing for the past three years, and I want to be more free to travel to speak and meet clients. The next step may be to become licensed in other states, so I’m able to do telemedicine visits even when I’m on the road. I think the options are endless.
So, my friends, don’t feel stuck. The road of out your rut or funk may be filled with obstacles, but it’s not impossible to traverse. If you need help—emotional, mental, financial, strategic—then don’t be afraid to reach out to mentors and experts. Create the work-life balance and integration that you desire.
Thinking About Quitting Medicine, vol. 2
Swiner Publishing Co., 2018
The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 42,600 to 121,300 physicians by 2030.Getty Images
The news that New York University will offer free tuition to all its medical school students, in the hope of encouraging more doctors to choose lower-paying specialties, offered hope to those wishing to pursue a career in the field.
However, becoming a doctor remains one of the most challenging career paths you can embark upon. It requires extensive (and expensive) schooling followed by intensive residencies before you’re fully on your feet. The idea, generally, is that all the hard work will pay off not only financially, but also in terms of job satisfaction and work-life balance; then there’s the immeasurable personal benefits of helping people, and possibly even saving lives. In terms of both nobility and prestige, few occupations rank as high.
So why is there waning interest in being a physician? A recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges projected a shortage of 42,600 to 121,300 physicians by 2030, up from its 2017 projected shortage of 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.
There appear to be two main factors driving this anticipated doctor drought: First, young people are becoming less interested in pursuing medical careers with the rise of STEM jobs, a shift that Craig Fowler, regional VP of The Medicus Firm, a national physician search and consulting agency based in Dallas, has noticed.
“There are definitely fewer people going to [med school] and more going into careers like engineering,” Fowler told NBC News.
Fowler also speaks to the desire among millennials to be in hip, urban locations — a luxury you likely won’t get when you’re fresh out of medical school and in need of a residency.
“This is why places in middle America hire firms like ours,” Fowler said. “They’re having a harder time attracting people.”
But perhaps the more interesting story lies not with those deciding to eschew medical degrees; it’s with the people who went through all that training, who became doctors — and then decided to opt for another path.
This drastic career change can be a result of new med school grads being unable to find a residency within a reasonable period of time.
“Graduating med school doesn’t mean you’ll get into a residency,” said Fowler. “There aren’t enough residency slots for medical grads. So you have that population of people who have an MD but didn’t practice for that reason. There is this bottleneck effect.”
The mounting bureaucracy
This “bottleneck effect” doesn’t usually sour grads on staying the course, Fowler finds, but he does see plenty of doctors in the later stages of their careers hang up their stethoscopes earlier than expected. Some cite electronic health records (EHRs) as part of the reason — especially old school doctors who don’t pride themselves on their computer skills. New research by Stanford Medicine, conducted by The Harris Poll, found that 59 percent think EHRs “need a complete overhaul;” while 40 percent see “more challenges with EHRs than benefits.”
And then there are those doctors who left medicine because the cons of the job started to far outweigh the pros.
“After 20 years, I quit medicine and none of my colleagues were surprised. In fact, they all said they wish they could do the same,” Dr. Amy Baxter told NBC News.
“I began to feel like an easily replaceable cog in the health care machine. With the [enforcement] of EHRs, I had to spend more time as a scribe. One night a child I was treating had a seizure and I couldn’t get the medicine to enable them to breathe because their chart wasn’t in the system yet. This kid was fixing to die and I, the doctor, couldn’t get the medicine. It was demoralizing.”
Baxter left pediatric emergency medicine to head a company that develops physiological products for personal pain management.
Dr. Ha-Neul Seo, director of global recruitment at EF Education First in London, was a general practitioner in the U.K. for several years before heading to the U.S. to study health care management and policy. She wound up leaving medicine to focus on education because she felt, to some extent, she’d defaulted into a career that turned out to be more tedious than expected.
“As a patient you want your doctor to love and be passionate about their work — and I realized that wasn’t me,” Seo said. “Some parts were incredible, but the moments when I felt I was making a true difference were too few and far between. And then there was the issue of work-life balance. I had my first child and was barely seeing him. The schedule was relentless.”
Dr. Nicole Swiner, a physician and author, has stuck with being a doctor because she loves it so much, but she deeply empathizes with those who decide to leave.
“It has gotten worse for all of us, unfortunately — whether you work in the hospital or in the outpatient setting,” she told NBC News. “We are burdened more by nonmedical business or insurance professionals without any medical training. It’s disheartening. I have transitioned to more part-time clinical work [so as to focus more on] speaking, writing and consulting.”
“Become a full-time consultant, author, speaker, entrepreneur, baker, cheerleader — whatever. Just be happy. Life’s too short,” Swiner said.
Hey, good people!!! So, if you didn’t know I recently joined the 40 & over club this past April. Since joining I have now gained a new characteristic of not caring much about anything but the things I love. I have also re-created my work schedule where I will be in the clinic for only three days, with doing more tele-work from home. It inspired me to post some ideas and questions on Instragram in my Instastories and received some great feedback.
…and what perfect timing it was when I came across an article titled “People Over 40 Should Only Work 3 Days A Week, Expert Claim“….
Click here to read the article.
But while reading the article, it made me think…
Life is expensive! So working 3 days a week is taking a financial back step, or a financial cha-cha, depending on how you look at life. Me? I say let’s dance baby…let’s dance.
But okay, I understand. Working 3 days may not be financially feasible. So that leads me to remember some tips that helped me.
Planning takes time, organization, and dedication. Set some time aside to prioritize your goals, and write them down.
Work less and live more! Life is more than work. You have to enjoy your free time; wait…you have to have free time to enjoy! If you feel that you are working too much, then cut back some on some work. Also, just learn how to say no.
So these next two tips are personal boundaries we have to set for ourselves. And although it will be tough, and take some time to master…I know we can do it!
In addition to the article, I wanted to add a quote from two debt burden and financial experts Drs. Nii-Danko and Renee Darko.
“The debt burden for many physicians and other professionals can be a major factor in determining if cutting back hours is financially possible. For us, significantly decreasing our debt burden allowed us to not only cut back on the number hours that we worked, but actually allowed us to live on Nii’s salary so that Renée could primarily stay at home once our baby was born. Without so much debt, your income can really go a long way.”
If the article and above quote aren’t enough encouragement to cut back, then I don’t know what it! Also, find encouragement and inspiration from your tribe; your community. A good friend of mine tweeted this recently:
–right on time as I was writing this blog. Cutting back is required at times to practice healthy self-care.
Now, I don’t want you all to think that I don’t understand how hard it is to step back from our income. It’s easier said than done. However, I have confidence that we (the 40 & Older Boss Group) can cut back some days to enjoy our life! Let’s take control of our time & finances so we can live our BEST LIVES!
As Lil’ Duval says…….
My comments were featured in a recent article in Healthline Newsletter!
If you are “addicted” to eating ice, take a look here or read below to find out one reason why you might be.
Why Do You Crave Ice?
What causes you to crave ice?
You can crave ice for a number of reasons. Here are the common reasons people crave ice:
If you’re experiencing an insatiable craving to eat ice, you may have a condition called pica. “In medical terms, pica is a disorder defined by a desire to eat substances that lack any nutritional value,” explains Dr. Sarina Pasricha, MD, MSCR.
People with pica often crave nonfood items, like dirt, paint chips, clay, hair, ice, or paper. If ice is the substance you crave, then you may have a type of pica called pagophagia.
While there’s no single cause of pica or pagophagia, they can occur if you have iron deficiency anemia. Malnutrition or a mental health disorder may also be the culprit.
Pica is often seen in children and may have a psychological basis, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or a pediatric developmental disorder. It’s also commonly related to an underlying nutrient deficiency, typically iron. This then results in anemia.
Iron deficiency anemia
You don’t have to receive a diagnosis of pica to crave ice. Some people with anemia may crave ice as a result of an iron deficiency. One study proposed that this is because ice gives people with anemia a mental boost. Anemia is a medical condition in which your blood doesn’t carry enough oxygen to the rest of your body. This results in less energy.
Other symptoms of anemia include:
- shortness of breath
If you’re pregnant, your doctor may discover that you have anemia. “Pregnant women are often anemic due to the demands on the blood supply and circulation, poor nutritional intake, or from abnormal bleeding,” explains Dr. C. Nicole Swiner, MD. Even if you don’t have a history of anemia, you can become iron deficient during pregnancy.
In addition to anemia, Pasricha says there are other reasons you may crave ice during pregnancy:
- Pregnancy can cause nausea and vomiting, which can lead to dehydration. In this case, eating ice allows you to stay hydrated without worsening the nausea symptoms.
- Since ice has no odor or taste, many women crave ice during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy increases a woman’s metabolic rate and causes vasodilation (swelling of the blood vessels). Both of these can lead women to feel increasingly hot and therefore crave cold items such as ice.
Should you see a doctor about your ice cravings?
Pasricha recommends seeing your doctor if your desire to eat or chew ice continues to increase for at least one month. Your doctor will likely perform basic lab work to test for iron deficiency anemia, which needs to be evaluated and treated.
It’s also a good idea to have your teeth evaluated. Chewing ice over time can ruin enamel. Ask your doctor to look at your teeth. They can tell you if a visit to the dentist is necessary.
How can you stop your ice cravings?
Once you visit your doctor, the next step is to come up with a plan to stop, or at least decrease, your ice cravings.
If anemia is the cause of your cravings, your doctor may start you on iron supplements and replacement therapy. After your iron stores are replaced, the ice craving usually resolves.
If anemia isn’t the underlying cause, your doctor may look at psychological reasons for the craving. “Some people may have craved ice due to psychological stressors, in which case, cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be helpful,” says Pasricha.
The bottom line
Compulsive ice chewing for a period of longer than one month is a sign of a more significant medical or psychological issue that needs to be checked out.
If you’re craving and chewing on ice for reasons other than thirst, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider.