Saturday, May 31, 2008

overcoming loneliness

It is an amazing, if at times, terrifying, experience to move to a rural practice after residency in a major children's hospital. My first few months here were spent studying for the boards, getting to know my organization, the paperwork, etc. However, after about six months, the loneliness set in. Not personal, but professional. I would attend meetings at our local hospital and with the whole organization I work for, and I'd be looked upon as a bit of an oddball, which I might be, but you know what I mean! Why would I want to work with kids and their annoying parents? What was wrong with me? Of course, I look upon all of them and wonder the same thing! Obviously, my readers likely understand why I chose pediatrics. Who else gets feathers and interesting stones from five year old boys? Who else gets to dance around the office with a giggling two year old? But that's beside the point!

I make it a point to attend CME meetings, rather than only online CMEs. This is gratifying because I feel energized after a meeting, and it's pleasant hanging around with other pediatricians for a few days. I have also been fortunate enough to have another opportunity come up. As a member of the Section on Young Physicians, the SOYP, I received an email that the section was looking for people to run for the executive committee. The election was to be by district. I jumped at the chance, and to my great surprise, I was elected to the post.

I now am involved with the AAP on a national level, as well as at a district level and state. My first task was to attend the District VIII District Meeting. What a great experience! My district is the largest in country, and it includes NM, CO, UT, AZ, WY, MT, ID, OR, WA, NV, Hawaii, Alberta, BC, AK, and Uniformed Services West, so the district meeting brings to gather a variety of pediatricians from all types of settings. They discussed resolutions, chapter triumphs and challenges, and we had the opportunity to meet the candidates for AAP president. What an incredible treat! I felt so much more connected after the meeting. The SOYP executive committee itself is an inspiring group of docs, and I feel honored to be a part of them.

The bottom line is, I now I have a group of pediatricians across the country that I feel I am a part of. I also feel that I am an active member of the AAP, not just one who pays dues and gets monthly journals. This is something that I hope to keep up with, even when I get too old for the SOYP (which is sooner than I care to think), and even when I eventually leave TorC to join a practice with other pediatricians and professional loneliness is not such an issue.

For any of you who are not familiar with the SOYP, we are the largest section in the AAP, and we are composed of members who are in their first five years of practice and/or under 40. Here is a link to our website:

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