Academy of Blogging Arts and Sciences

As you probably know, nominations are open over at Medgadget for the 2005 Medical Weblog Awards.

There’s been a fair amount of discussion about the best way to accept future nominations and determine winners.  I was browsing Clinical Cases and Images and saw that last year’s winner, Grunt Doc, suggests thumb wrestling…

So, not wanting to miss out on my chance to express an opinion on the matter, I come to the Medical Blogosphere with a proposal… Ta Da…

How about …

Since MedGadget started this, the onus is on them to create, manage, and of course fund the Academy of Blogging Arts and Sciences. 

Nominations shall be restricted to select members of the Academy.  I’m not sure how they’ll be selected, that would be Medgadget’s problem to figure out.  (That’ll teach you for coming up with a good concept!) Once the field has been narrowed to no more than five nominees in each category, all members of the Academy of Blogging Arts and Sciences shall be permitted to vote for one Bloscar winner in each category.

The annual Award Ceremonies will, of course, be lavish.  Each nominee will be required to submit an 8×10 glossy suitable for framing of themselves (or a face of their choice if they blog anonymously) to Medgadget for posting.  Nominees will also need to mention whose designer duds they are wearing in the photo, Wallmart, Target, Bloomingdales, etc.  Perhaps Medgadget can sell some advertising space to said designers to help fund the Academy.

As technology advances (and who better to help move us in that direction than MedGadget?) acceptance speeches, as well as the mandatory pre-awards fashion critique, can be distributed via podcast and perhaps even videocast.

What say you Medgadget?


NAMSS Executive Director Named

The National Association Medical Staff Services announced November 28th that Stephen R. Hartley has joined SmithBucklin as NAMSS Executive Director.

Stephen began his career with the American Cancer Society, and has provided nationwide direction to field operations for organizations such as the Arthritis Foundation, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the American Diabetes Association and Safe Kids Worldwide. In addition, he has provided consulting services to groups such as the American Society of Association Executives, the National Down Syndrome Society and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

SmithBucklin Press Release

2025 M Street NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 367-1196 – Phone
(202) 367-2196 – Fax

Need a Second Opinion?

When Kathy Orton, a Washington Post Staff Writer, was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse doctors told her that she needed surgery, but her cardiologist disagreed. 

Feeling torn, she discovered that she could obtain a second opinion without leaving home.

She writes, patients who have received a diagnosis of any of more than 600 life-threatening or life-altering conditions can request an electronic consultation with a Cleveland Clinic doctor. For $565.00, a physician provides a written second opinion and a treatment recommendation — all within five to seven working days of receiving a completed request.

She goes on to explain the challenges, drawbacks, and benefits of getting a “Second E-pinion.”

Online second opinions are yet another way that technology is changing the delivery of healthcare.

Visit eCleveland Clinic

Washington Post Second E-pinion

Technorati tags: , ,

Career Burnout – a Healthcare Hazard

Healthcare workers experience a relatively high risk  of career burnout.  It’s not surprising really, when you consider the emotional intensity of the work and the potential it brings for life-altering, even life-ending, failure.

At highest risk are those most often considered the best providers; the most dedicated caregivers. They  often take the job home with them, and are frequently willing to displace personal priorities in order to meet the needs of their patients. They rarely hesitate to take on additional work, have high standards and perfectionist tendencies, and are intensely driven.

Individuals suffering burnout often feel that they carry heavy responsibility but have little authority or control over the outcome.

We’ve all read the reports. Health-care workers are expressing career dissatisfaction in record numbers. We see it first-hand. Many arrive at work each day disheartened, frustrated, even angry. Walk down the halls of any busy hospital – you can see it in their faces, hear it in their conversations.

As a group, those who exhibit passion (and compassion) in their life’s work are often not as good at nurturing self and maintaining personal balance.

More than any other profession, healthcare needs people with passion. But how do we help keep the flame within burning when the night is long and dark?

The articles listed below offer some suggestions on identifying and combating career burn out.

Battling Burnout –

Are You Burned Out –

Google Base – Beta

Sometimes I think Google is run by Pinky and the Brain  It certainly seems like their goal is world domination – or at least domination of the internet. 

Although centralized power is always scary, it does seem like Google comes up with some pretty good ideas.  Their latest is Google Base, open in beta version this month. It appears to be a world-wide classifieds ads page of sorts.

I decided to try it out.  (To submit a post you do have to sign up for a Google account, which is free.)  I submitted a brief description and link to an article on communication skills which is posted on the MSSPNexus web site, under the category “reference articles.”  Within a few minutes there it was, already indexed and available through Google Base.

Unless the poster specifies an earlier expiration date, all posts remain in Google Base for 31 days. 

Although you can create your own category, suggested categories include coupons, course schedules, jobs, news, people, recipes, reference articles, services, vehicles, wanted ads, rentals, and others.

Hmm, maybe I’ll see if anyone wants to buy a gently used 1987 television set…

The Ultimate Criticism

I don’t always react as well as I might hope to criticism.  Often I feel overly responsible or guilty about my failures, real or perceived.  Sometimes I just want to justify why none of it was really my fault at all.  When I’m at my best, however, I learn from it and move on. 

At some point in their careers, most physicians will deal with the "ultimate" criticism; being named in a malpractice suit.  That’s what the third-year resident who writes Chronicles of a Medical MadHouse is facing at the moment.  He writes about how being named makes him feel and what he’s learned from the experience.  It’s a worthwhile read, as is the follow-up post from Shrinkette.

I’m Getting Sued

It’s about a patient I’ve cared for as a resident who had a bad outcome. The lawsuit is by no means a surprise. I had a feeling it would head in this direction from the beginning.

I have to face how this makes me feel.The truth is that I have no idea what exactly went wrong. I’ve had a chance to look through the chart and I am still unsure. But it doesn’t mean I’m a failure or that I made a mistake. And even if I made a mistake I was hoping to take some lessons away from the experience.


Shrinkette weighs in on the topic with  Coping with a Medical Malpractice Suit

More than 95% of physicians react to being sued by experiencing periods of emotional distress during all or portions of the lengthy process of litigation.

Feelings of intense anger, frustration, inner tension, and insomnia are frequent throughout this period.

Interview – Jennifer Jarvis, CPCS

There are so many interesting people working in healthcare, many of them in our own field of medical staff services, that I want to get to know a few of them better. Therefore, I’ve added an informal “interview” category to my posts so others can get acquainted with them as well. If you have a suggestion about someone with a story to tell, drop me a line at - Rita

Meet my first “interviewee” Jennifer Jarvis, CPCS, Credentialing Coordinator at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in Orange, CA. I decided to start with Jennifer because she developed the Medical Staff Internet Reference Guide online to assist her colleagues around the country in locating useful links and resources.

MSSPNexus: What made you decide to develop and post the Medical Staff Internet Reference Guide online?

Jennifer: I used to keep (and still do actually) a three-ring binder stuffed full of helpful little tidbits. People kept calling me to ask questions, and it got to the point where it was falling to pieces. Then the medical industry discovered the internet and I started tracking internet websites. My favorites folder just got bigger and bigger and more unwieldy so I thought to myself “why don’t I just make myself a webpage – It can hold more information and I can share it with my friends!”  At first just my coworkers and I used it…. and then the page ended up being tossed around a local CAMSS (California Association Medical Staff Services) meeting…. then somehow I started getting calls and emails from across the US.

I try to keep the page as simple and non-graphics heavy as possible, so it’s not always the prettiest of sites, but the information is there and easy to navigate.

MSSPNexus: What other resources would you like to see online that would help us in our work?

Jennifer: It would be wonderful if all hospitals would do their verifications online, and there was something similar to the American Hospital Directory that listed all of the applicable links. Other things that would be nice? Having access to DEA verification that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

MSSPNexus: How long have you been working in the field of medical staff services?

Jennifer: I’ve been working in hospitals since 1984, and started credentialing in 1991 for a consulting company. I moved on to a CVO, then went to acute care in 1995.

MSSPNexus: Why do you feel that the work you do as a medical staff service professional is important?

Jennifer: I’d say 97% of the doctors out there are fine, with clean files or no major problems… It’s the 3% that we have to be careful and on the lookout for. It’s hard thinking that doctors can be unethical and try to hide things… so it’s our job to find things to protect the bottom line – the patient. Working in a Children’s Hospital makes you even more cautious because it’s the future you’re helping to protect.

MSSPNexus: Any closing comments?

Jennifer: I am constantly updating the information on the web page, so input from people really helps. I’m thinking about adding a section on malpractice carriers and providers with their addresses. If users have suggestions they can send them to me at

MSSPNexus: Thanks Jennifer – and keep up the good work!

Note: A link to the Medical Staff Internet Reference Guide can also be found on the Education Resources page of the web site.

The Direction Your Career Takes Is Up To You

Deborah Brown-Volkman  is a career coach who says "You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!"

The Direction Your Career Takes Is Up To You

Does your career seem to be going nowhere fast? Is it because of the economy, your company, your boss, or your co-workers? Is it everyone’s fault but your own?

Your career gets better when you make it better and that requires your participation. Circumstances can throw us off-track from time to time. But, the person responsible for the direction of your career is you. (Even if it does not feel that way.)

Being responsible for your career sets you free. Once you are accountable, you can asses what’s working, and eliminate what’s not. You can make changes that need to be made because you know you are the person who can make them.

Once you take responsibility, you have no one to blame anymore. You get the control back into your career. You can move forward because you know you have to power to do so.

So How Do You Take Responsibility For Your Career?

Follow These Five Steps Below:

1. You Decide To Be Responsible

An attitude that begins with "I don’t care" or "I’ll wait for things to improve on their own" can one day become a problem that is so overwhelming that you are not sure how to deal with it. (Don’t let this happen to you. If you are already overwhelmed by a complacent attitude, know that there is a way out.) If you do not deal with your career now, you will have to deal with it later. If you are not working on your career, your career moves without direction. No direction means no goals, which means no progress.

Being responsible does not mean you are chained to your commitments. It means that you recognize that if your career is not going in the direction that you would like it to go that it’s up to you to take it in a different path.

2. You Find Someone Who You Can Help With Their Career
3. You Become Inspired
4. You Create A Plan
5. You Achieve Your Goals

The Direction Your Career Takes Is Up To You