Sarah Russell, PharmD Sarah Russell, PharmD

Managing Stress

As I look back on stressful times in my life, specifically in pharmacy school, I now think “that wasn’t so bad.” I think about how we can make situations we go through 1,000 times more stressful than what they really are and how it important it is to take care of ourselves during situations that are out of our control.

As health care professionals, we encounter challenging patient situations or general work situations daily that affect all aspects of our life, not just work. The majority of our time is spent with our colleagues and patients, so our work life highly affects our daily mood, outlook, and overall quality of life. So, let’s sit back and think, what do we do on a daily basis to help manage our stress? What do we do to keep a positive attitude? How can we effectively lift up our patients and manage their chronic disease states?

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Alexa Mieses, M.D., MPH Alexa Mieses, M.D., MPH

While in the emergency department a man was brought in by ambulance for agitation. After introducing myself, he told me his story. He witnessed his brother be shot to death by police. He now felt targeted, which is what prompted his visit to the emergency department. He was worried he was being followed. Were these paranoid delusions? During a brief encounter in the emergency department, it is hard to know for certain. However, after taking a thorough history from him, one thing was clear: This man was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the violent death of his brother.

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Viviana Martinez-Bianchi Viviana Martinez-Bianchi, M.D., FAAFP

We gathered June 17, 2018, to celebrate the achievements of six amazing people who are now alumni of the Duke Family Medicine Residency Program. The past three years were special for all who were involved in their training. We started with five who joined us in June of 2015 — Brian Blank, Sam Fam, Jonathan Hedrick, Jonathan Jimenez, and Everlyn Perez — and then Kenetra Hix joined us the following year. 

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Clayton Cooper, M.D., MBA Clayton Cooper, M.D., MBA

The residency application and Match process is an exhausting but exciting time that occurs during the fourth year of medical school. It involves applying to programs in which a graduating medical student is interested, hoping they are granted an interview at those programs, and then ranking all these programs in order of preference in hopes that their top-ranked program also listed them at the top of their list. On Match Day, medical students across the country open an envelope at the same time to determine where they will pursue their residency training. I explained this process to my Grandpa no less than five times, and on Match Day he was still confused that my fate was determined by opening an envelope!   

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Will Bynum, M.D. Will Bynum, M.D.

During some personal soul-searching a few years back, I discovered the concept of the vulnerability gap. A vulnerability gap exists between two people when one person is more willing to be vulnerable — to let him/herself be seen in an open and authentic manner — than the other. For many, being vulnerable is risky and difficult at baseline, even when it’s returned by another person. Engaging in unrequited vulnerability? That’s particularly rough, and in my experience, the gap created by disparate levels of vulnerability can create self-doubt, impair open and honest communication, and lead to missed opportunities for connection. Conversely, self-confidence, trust, and connection can flourish when two people share the same willingness to be vulnerable. 

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