Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Vanishing Oath

Updated 3/2017 -- photos and all links (except to my own posts) removed as many no longer active. 

I received a copy of the documentary, The Vanishing Oath, from the the films producer Nancy Pando.   I’m not sure I can best Dr Wes’ review, but would like to add my impressions.  The documentary film  was directed by a young emergency room physician, Ryan Flesher, MD and produced by a former clinical social worker, Nancy Pando, LICSW.   Dr. Flesher’s own dissatisfaction/disillusionment with medicine led to the films production.
Physician burnout is an important topic and as with most job dissatisfaction is not due to just one thing.  The film addresses many with interviews of physicians, the public, and one lawyer – long hours, need to see more patients in less time, threat of malpractice lawsuits, increasing paperwork, increasing pressures from outside sources (government, insurance companies, etc).
Being a surgeon, I was particularly struck by the young aspiring hand surgeon who left (video clip) medicine after all of his years of training because of the toll it took on himself and his family.  I would love to know what he is doing now.  What job replaced medicine and surgery for him, because no job is without it’s own problems and exasperations.  Time management or life balance is always a “juggling” act which some are better at than others.
I will admit here and now that I have experienced some of this, so I was hoping (as I think Dr. Flesher was) that the film would show me better ways to guard against all those forces that take my joy of practicing medicine away.  Sadly, it didn’t, but there were two physicians interviewed who seem to always (or almost always) love their job.  I “soaked” these two up, especially the segment of Dr. Peter Rosen who advises “the most important thing is to revive your ideas, why did you want to be a doctor?”  I love his story of his first patient when he was 8 yrs old.  He has retained that enthusiasm. 

I am now working to get this shown in my community as Dr. Wes managed to in his.  No dates set as of today.


DrWes said...

Nice take, Ramona.

Many young physicians experience displeasure with medicine when they start their first job - and I think Ryan was a good example of this. This happens in part because young doctors are unaware and unprepared for what medicine has become in today. The idealism showered on medical students is quickly lost and reality kicks in. For some, this transition is easy. For others, it can lead to significant discontent and even depression.

Often, much of this displeasure can be found by changing jobs in medicine, but doctors often, by their very nature, insist on "pushing through" adversity, even though their attempts are futile. This can lead to big problems personally, and I, too, had wished a discussion to this effect had occurred in this film.

Still, I felt it was okay that Dr. Flesher took some "artistic license" to leave us hanging as to what should come next at the end of the film and I still feel this film was a very honest, unfiltered, and accurate portrayal of many of the challenges doctors face today and might serve as a backdrop of things we need o focus on to improve things in health care.

hdhindsa said...

It is indeed quite sad to see so many young doctors become depressed and disillusioned after they have finished their training, and the real world of practicing confronts them, often quite brutally. I wonder if anyone has done a study of physician satisfaction in the university setting vs. private practice.
Thanks for bringing attention to this movie.

StorytellERdoc said...

Thanks for the awareness of this film, Ramona. I look forward to finding it or viewing it sometime. Would it be purposeful to show a resident class??

Hope all is well.

rlbates said...

Dr. Jim, I think residents could benefit from viewing the film, especially if an open discussion took place afterward.

SeaSpray said...

Hi Ramona - I really liked Dr Rosen's perspective on it. Most inspiring!

I've heard that couples about to break up and call it quits in their marriage should do the same thing. What was it that caused you to be attracted fall in love in the first place? That going back to what was initially important ..remembering the good things could inspire you to hang in there for better days.

Unknown said...

I would love to share this with my daughter who is an ob-gyn. I don't know how she does all that she does. Come join me for the inaugural edition of What's On the Menu Wednesday. Mister Linky is up and ready for your post. Thanks.

Gizabeth Shyder said...

I hope you get it here, Ramona! I would love to see it.