What doctors want you to know about COVID-19

it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

In this post I’m sharing some of what I’ve been reading about the COVID-19 epidemic. These experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate physicians share insights to help colleagues as well as patients. I thank them for taking the time to share in the midst of this crisis.

a perspective from China

Since 2016, Laura Jordhen, M.D. has been practicing in Shanghai’s United Family Xincheng Hospital and was chair of infection control for the hospital before becoming chief of its family medicine department in December. In an interview for the AAFP she said,

“(In China now) Things are slowly getting back to normal. Our ear, nose and throat clinic is reopening. Dental is reopening. The number of new confirmed cases is low.

People in Wuhan are still basically isolated in their homes, but throughout the rest of China schools are starting to open up. With still a few cases reported every several days in Shanghai, schools have still not reopened. It’s still very strict social isolation.

Massage, hair cut — any kind of business that involved physical contact or having people close together — was shut down around Chinese New Year, which started Jan 25.”

Read more of Dr. Jordhen’s insights on China’s handling of COVID-19 at

U.S. FP Shares COVID-19 Insights From Practice in China

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

from the National Institutes of Health

On the NIH Director’s blog, Dr. Francis Collins explains social distancing.

“What exactly does social distancing mean?

Well, for starters, it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

Other recommendations include avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, no handshakes, regular handwashing, and, when encountering someone outside of your immediate household, trying to remain at least 6 feet apart.

These may sound like extreme measures. But the new study by NIH-funded researchers, published in the journal Science, documents why social distancing may be our best hope to slow the spread of COVID-19. ” Read more at

To Beat COVID-19, Social Distancing is a Must

Practice Social Distancing.
provided as a service from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center

In A nine-step plan to deal with COVID-19 stress, psychiatrist Dr. Gerard Clancy offers this advice.

“7. Can-do list. Under the current guidelines there are many things we can’t do. With activities out in the community curtailed, this can leave down time. This has allowed us to create a list of what we can do.

This has included reading books, reorganizing the house and watching classic and new movies. It has also included my own version of Master Chef, where I need to cook dinner with what we have left in the pantry. It has been a challenge but also fun.”

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.
I’ve heard some families say this is allowing them to eat dinner together more than usual.

Why Doctors and Nurses are Anxious and Angry

“Every single day for the past six months, I have recommended the flu shot for my patients, and every day a good chunk decline. When I ask why, most can’t articulate an answer. They offer only an inchoate distaste for vaccines, fomented by the oddly contagious anti-vaccine movement.

I remind them that their grandparents would have given their eyeteeth for the vaccines they blithely shrug off. I point out the entirely unnecessary resurgence of measles resulting from a falloff in vaccination rates.”

Dr. Danielle Ofri, a doctor at Bellevue Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, is the author of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” and the forthcoming “When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.

Review your family’s vaccination status at this previous post about vaccine preventable diseases.

exploring the HEART of COVID-19

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences dealing with the challenges this disease outbreak brings into your life. What have you found helps you to survive and thrive though this? How will this change your life, good or bad? Share here or find me on social media.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

Watercress Words on Facebook

 

Watercress Words is on Facebook where I post additional content to explore the heart of health just like I do here- posts to inform, instruct and inspire you . If you haven’t visited me there, please do.

Here are a few of my recent Facebook posts.

Do you qualify to donate blood?

This article from the New York Times health blog explains who can and can’t donate blood.  If you meet the qualifications, consider donating in your community. You may help save a life.

Too Old to Donate Blood? Maybe not.

person donating blood
photo compliments of Pixabay

Wednesday Word is where I define and discuss a medical term , like this one.

endemic- natural to or characteristic of a particular people or place

Medically speaking, an endemic disease occurs in a particular place or a particular population; for example, malaria is endemic to tropical areas; malnutrition is endemic to people suffering from famine.

Related words are

epidemic– a sudden severe outbreak of a disease in a particular location or group , such as influenza epidemics.

pandemic– an epidemic becomes wide spread, across countries and continents

Are you looking for a new doctor?

This article offers sound advice on finding and choosing a physician, and  how to prepare for your first visit.

Thanks to Nurse Beth at her blog Boomer Highway.

You’re A Candidate For

Good Health & A Good Doc

Dr. Oglesby nametag
How much do you know about your doctor’s training and experience? Make sure you choose a doctor for the right reasons.

I share humorous medical cartoons on  Friday Funny.

I am particularly fond of the antics of the organ characters from The Awkward Yeti.

( note this is an affiliate link)

And  inspiration from some fun-loving, dancing nurses.

Shared from InspireMore.

Making a living in health care

 

(revised on 12/29/2015, new info underlined)

Previously I wrote about physician salaries after Medscape magazine reported the annual physician salary survey.  In it I explained  how doctors are paid and  where other  health care dollars  go. It became one of my most viewed posts.

My fellow physician blogger Dr. Kristen Prentis Ott has compiled a report detailing how people  make a living in health care. The report lists the earnings of different physician specialties , and other  healthcare professionals, including nurses and the length of training required by each job. You may not have  personal friends who are MDs or DOs but I bet someone in your family or social circle works in another of these  professions.

 

cropped logos final (2)

 

Before you read Dr. Ott’s piece, I’ll explain about doctors’ income.

We don’t get salaries in the strict sense of the word. While some physicians may have a set annual salary, or hourly rate, most physician income is  based on how many patients they treat; office visits, surgeries, procedures, xray or lab consultations (which can be remote, so called telemedicine).

For most doctors, income is directly tied to how many patients we see in a given day, month, or year.

I found some of these income figures  surprising. The income for primary care doctors, that is family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics seems high to me, at least for  where I live ( there are regional differences in what doctors are pain, even within the same specialty). Physicians are paid while in residency, which can last from 3 to 7 years, depending on specialty. Residents receive a yearly salary, which is far below what they will earn in practice.

 

Absent from the chart in Dr. Ott’s post are the support positions, those people in a hospital or clinic who don’t have medical training but whose work enables the rest of us to do our jobs.

These include receptionists, customer service reps, maintenance, laundry, housekeeping, security, human resources, billing and coding.

Nor does it include IT (information technology)  professionals; the use of  medical computer devices and  applications, called medical informatics, is now  a specialized profession.

Also missing are dieticians, nutritionists, chefs and kitchen support.

Other  occupations  directly or indirectly contribute to health care. If you make a living in  health care , please tell us about it in the comments.  Add your income too if you want.

 

taking blood pressure
measuring blood pressure- a skill most health professionals learn

laboratory
Laboratory testing is vital to providing health care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MRI machine
Diagnostic imaging- CAT, MRI and PET scanning have increased our ability to see inside the human body compared to plain x ray.

 

 

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics (U.S. Department of Labor) –

The health care and social assistance sector will account for over a third of the nation’s projected job growth from 2014 to 2024.

Most of the fastest growing occupations are in health care. 

 

I appreciate everyone who devotes their life to helping me and other physicians deliver quality health care in our communities. Despite all the challenges, I think we have picked the most noble profession .  Thank you.

 

Doctors and other health professionals don’t always make a living practicing medicine or nursing . Find out why here.

Read Dr. Ott’s post at this link-

What It Takes to Have a Career in Medicine

Thanking nurses every day

There are still women and men who choose to become nurses, not for a lucrative salary, or a convenient work schedule, but because they want to make a difference in the world, one patient at a time. For that, we offer our appreciation and respect.

The United States observes National Nurses’ Week every year in May;  it is well deserved.

National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

two hospital personnel working with patients' records at a nurse’s station.
Few nurses wear white uniforms or caps now. And most hospitals and clinics have digital medical records. But this is how medical care was done for many years. Photo credit Bob Sanders, used compliments of the Centers for Disease Control, CDC

 

 

 

collage of nurses working with patients in a mission clinic
CompassionLink medical mission trip- nurses on our team work with patients in Panama

 

I am a physician because of a nurse. As a child I was interested in health care and decided to become a nurse- that’s what girls did in the 1970’s. I needed advice so I talked to the nurse at my high school about her career.

After answering my questions, she looked straight at me and said, “Aletha, have you thought about going to medical school?” Until that time, I had not. But from that suggestion my path changed and grew into a medical career .

Some of my best friends have been and are nurses. They understand my crazy life. Since the majority of nurses are women, we have that common bond;  they understand juggling a career with marriage and motherhood.

a doctor and nurse talk to a patient in an Asian country.
A local nurse assisted me with a patient encounter in Thailand

 

 

Unfortunately, nursing,  like medical practice, has become heavy on documentation. I hear my nurse friends lament the amount of time they spend charting at a computer instead of caring at the bedside.

The American health care system is changing in ways sometimes characterized as an overhaul- payment reform, new delivery methods, quality measurements, patient engagement are all buzzwords now. But one thing hasn’t changed.

There are still women and men who choose to become nurses, not for a lucrative salary, or a convenient work schedule, but because they want to make a difference in the world, one patient at a time. For that, we offer our appreciation and respect.

Heart and Soul- The Story of Florence Nightingale

 

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE by Sony Pictures

 

 

 

 

 

These are affiliate links, that will not add to your cost if you use them for a purchase, which we appreciate.

Why not thank a nurse today? They truly embody the

HEART of health. stethoscope with a heart

 

Please share this post. Thanks. Dr. Aletha