Additional years of repeating justifications to students, residents and patients have honed explanations into my -isms. These are kernels of truth packed into few easy-to-remember words, as an efficient way to communicate.
I never seem to have enough time, especially when I am seeing patients. And the older I get, the faster time flies. But age and experience have also come with increased clinical efficiency. Making medical decisions became faster and easier way before I was able to condense the time it takes to explain why. So, additional years of repeating justifications to students, residents and patients have honed explanations into my -isms. These are kernels of truth packed into few easy-to-remember words, as an efficient way to communicate.
Most experienced clinicians have their own -isms, and my collection includes those from my own mentors and esteemed colleagues. I thought I had enough self-awareness to know most of my own, but I also reached out to friends (including present and former residents, my nurses and PA) and family in a 360 degree feedback on any that immediately came to mind, as well as additional -isms learned from someone else, or their own -isms. I am proud to say that a few replies from current residents gave credit to junior colleagues that I believe learned the -ism from me. By the same token, I realize that I may be inadvertently taking credit for an -ism that I learned elsewhere. In some cases, Google helped verify an origin. If your recognize one of yours, I welcome feedback.
Preventive care "isms"
The "isms" I use most often are about common conditions that are either best managed with preventive care or difficult to treat. But convincing some patients (and their parents) to adhere to preventative treatment or opt against aggressive procedures requires a good explanation. Below are several that have served me well.
I have a few mottos for parents who are unnecessarily concerned about a skin lesion, and insist on blood tests or a painful procedure for their non-assenting child.
Patients with eczema fill 50% of my clinic schedule, but take 80% of my time. So I have had a lot of practice in honing eczema-isms.
Below are a few miscellaneous -isms.