What I Miss Most About Practicing Medicine

As the end of the year is approaching, a bit of reflection is a natural event.  I recently left medical practice in order to pursue a career in mobile health technologies, for which I have had a passion for many years. I had wanted to become a physician since I was very young.  The intellectual challenge and curiosities of the natural science and the human body stirred my intellect like nothing else.

What I will surely miss most are the priceless personal interactions I experienced on a daily basis. I spent most of my days in the hospital. I will miss the janitorial and food service workers with whom I would have chats ranging from the weather to their families. I will miss the therapists (physical, respiratory, occupational, and others) who I encountered when seeing my patients. I will remember fondly the talks with nurses asking how a certain patient was doing when I arrived on the floor to make follow-up rounds after procedures, or listening to the gallows humor in the middle of the night when in the hospital after seeing a patient in the ER or a consultation on the floor.

The camaraderie among hospital workers is unique, and one that many will attest to as being as important as family.  I have shared profound experiences involving patients with them.  They were there when my children were born.  They saw me on good days and bad.  The mission of delivery of good patient care bound us together.  The unspoken sentiments exchanged with a team of people after a life is saved or some other intense satisfying or disappointing are indelible.  I will miss my professional colleagues whose advice I took and who entrusted me with caring for their patients.

As many of us move from one phase of life to another, we have mixed feelings about the process.  The good ones are invariably linked to people who have added to our lives in both small and significant meaningful ways.  The bad ones tied to what amount to ‘the small stuff’ we needlessly sweated over.  Medicine is moving towards a patient-centric model.  However, the myriad of persons involved in the care of those patients is a culture of dedication, teamwork, and human kindness that I will always treasure and hope is never underappreciated by anyone.

I will certainly miss caring for and helping patients and their families.  There is no substitution for the thousands of sincere ‘thank you’ comments or cards. I cried many times in my career, both in joy and sadness.  But none as deep as when I said good-bye to the people who knew me best and who most shaped who I was….the unsung hospital workers on all levels.


About davidleescher

David Lee Scher, MD is Founder and Director at DLS HEALTHCARE CONSULTING, LLC, which specializes in advising digital health technology companies, their partners, investors, and clients. As a cardiac electrophysiologist and pioneer adopter of remote patient monitoring, he understood early on the challenges that the culture and landscape of healthcare present to the development and adoption of digital technologies. He is a well-respected thought leader in mobile and other digital health technologies. Scher lectures worldwide on relevant industry topics including the role of tech in Pharma, patient advocacy, standards for development and adoption, and impact on patients and healthcare systems from clinical, risk management, operational and marketing standpoints. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine.
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2 Responses to What I Miss Most About Practicing Medicine

  1. Good luck David
    It is difficult to leave clinical medicine to be able to spend all your efforts on digital health. I went through the same dilemma a few years ago. The hope is that the work you do in digital health will help many more people, and in effect you are attempting to amplify your value to the healthcare sector. It is challenging, and there will be times when you will question your decision as you face opposition and barriers. However, just as you did during your clinical career, persistence and tenacity with the desire to help your patients as the ultimate goal will drive you forward.

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