Practice Perfect 900

900th Practice Perfect

The Practice Perfect editorial started quite some time ago, exactly 900 issues, back in 2005 when I was a resident. I don’t know what the folks at PRESENT were thinking at the time – or honestly ever since – to allow me to continue to write these weekly editorials, but I’m very grateful that they did! I’ve been consistent, writing an editorial a week for the entire time I’ve been in practice (almost 18 years), and it’s been quite an honor. The ability to reach out to you and discuss topics of interest with almost complete freedom has been an unencumbered joy.

Writing these editorials – a sort of professional diary of a podiatrist – has allowed me to analyze various aspects of this fantastic profession. I’ve gone from residency training to private practice as an associate, to being employed by a hospital in a rural practice, to professorship at Western University, residency directorship, and back to private practice. These various situations have provided a broad view of just some of the opportunities available to the modern podiatrist. Along the way I’ve moved 16 times (I’m crazy, I know!), had two beautiful children, and somehow managed to stay married to a wonderful woman. I’ve met so many interesting people and have learned an incredible amount listening to others’ stories. What a ride it’s been, and it’s all due to my mentor Marshall Solomon, DPM introducing me to Drs Alan Sherman and Michael Shore, who took a chance on an opinionated new doc willing to publish his thoughts for everyone to read. My deepest thanks go out to Dr Solomon and everyone at PRESENT e-Learning Systems for their support of this work over the years!

To mark this 900th issue I can’t help but go with the theme of nines. I’ve taken some time to scour through past issues to do an abbreviated discussion of some of the themes that have repeatedly come up. These topics resonated with me at the time of writing and still do. I hope they resonate with you too! If you’d like to read more go to the site and explore. We’ll cover the first four themes today and the final five next week.

Theme 1: Podiatry as an Important Medical and Surgical Specialty

As anyone who’s been in the podiatric medicine profession knows, we are not medical doctors but still receive a top-quality medical education that qualifies us to be on par with our MD and DO colleagues. Way back in Practice Perfect 146 Podiatry and the H&P I advocated that podiatrists should be able to do their own H&Ps. Similarly, I’ve worked to demonstrate in a reasonably positive manner the various strengths of the profession and why podiatry is a worthy career for anyone wishing to be a caregiver.

Theme 2: Personal Life

Despite the long years of training and the hard work of being medical providers, all of us have identities outside of the profession, and it’s always important to maintain that identity for our own mental health and well-being. I wrote Practice Perfect 282 Identity and Podiatric Medicine, about having a personal identity, back when my son was only 6-years-old (amazingly, he’s almost 19-years-old now), and nothing has changed about the need for each of us to maintain our identity. As we all know, it’s very common for physicians to build their identity around their profession, and, when they retire, they lose that sense of self. Despite how engaging and enveloping the job, it’s always important to foster your personal life.

Theme 3: You Can’t Please Everyone

Along the same lines as maintaining a personal life, it’s also important to realize limitations both in oneself as well as patients. In Practice Perfect 283 It’s a Red Flag: Walk Away, I advocated that sometimes it’s better to walk away from that surgery despite patient reactions. Sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease, and although we all want to help our patients, and many of us want to be the hero – especially when several other doctors have attempted unsuccessfully to fix a problem – it may not be what’s best for the patient. Recently, I frustrated a couple of patients with ingrown nails that would have benefited from a matrixectomy, except for the presence of irremovable nail preparations. These patients uniformly become frustrated when I ask them to remove the nail coverings and come back. For me, the bottom line is to do what I feel is best for the patient and not to bow to pressure.

Theme 4: The Gift of Being a Teacher

Hands down, the single most rewarding part of my professional life has always been teaching others. Every healthcare provider should be mandated at some point in their career to teach something to someone. Extending your knowledge and skills to others has no end of rewards. In Practice Perfect 312 They’ve Returned, I had been teaching for about 2 years and truly enjoyed the interaction with students. I’m particularly excited to have re-read Practice Perfect 640 Are YOU a Good Teacher?, in which I asked the question, “are you a good teacher” and then in a particularly arrogant manner went on to describe a good teacher. The end result is that teaching well takes desire, passion, and a focus on improving oneself before it is possible to teach others.
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See you next week, as we complete our 900th anniversary celebration with continued themes such as… no peeking! You’ll have to wait until next week to find out more.

Best wishes.

Jarrod Shapiro, DPM
PRESENT Practice Perfect Editor
[email protected]

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