Lessons And Observations

I have been back in my old/new job as Chief of Psychiatric Services for three business days now. Twenty-two and one half hours.

What can you learn in less than one full calendar day?

Anticipating a new challenge is emotionally and physically stimulating.

Going back to a job that involves constant connection with people after flying hundreds of hours of solo missions is stressful but exhilarating.

Watching a group of young, energetic, bright people execute a well-oiled process, one that you did not invent or start yourself, is like being inside a perfectly tuned Swiss watch.

Understanding that someone can actually email you more than two hundred pages of text, a book chapter and hand you two books to read, all in the first seven hours on the job, is terrifying.

Realizing that your organizational skills are rusty but very much still usable is a gratifying feeling.

Being one of the oldest people in the room has its perks. You have knowledge to share, you can have fun sharing it, and you’re not really that worried what anyone thinks about you as you do it.

Having a patient say “I am so glad you’re back” causes your chest to swell just a bit in spite of all efforts to take this comment in stride.

Seeing a patient that you first treated twenty years ago, who is still doing quite well, grounds you and renews your sense of purpose like nothing else can.

Being able to assess the state of things and decide where to focus your time and energy is golden.

Everyone needs a change every now and then.

If I can stick with it another ten years this go ’round, wonder what else I’ll learn?

8 thoughts on “Lessons And Observations

  1. You are right! We all need a change every now and then. I know you’re going to do a great job and I’ll bet you learn something new every day!


  2. Hello Greg:
    This post resonated in a few spots with me.

    One is the patient that says she is glad your are back. To me, the most gratifying words you can ever hear from a patient is “Thank You”., in a way that you know they meant it. I say to myself, hey maybe what I am doing is worth something, to somebody.
    Another is the age thing. I don’t mind that I am 63, it has its perks. Someone offered a seat to me on the bus the other day, and I was shocked. Shocked, but did not feel bad, as I thought I would have felt. And discounts at the theatre! You bet you sweet butt that I always ask for a seniors discount, and don’t feel a hint of embarassment! It makes me feel glad to be old. Hell I even bought the domain name, http://www.geezermd.com, check it if you don’t believe it. I think we can utilize the minds of semi-retired and retired docs, but why am i rambling?
    I am old.

    And I got an excuse, now, instead of having to think of some lame excuse!


  3. I guess you take it one year at a time and find out, Doc. And I suspect that’s just how you’ll do it–open-minded, forward-thinking, patient-centric leadership at its best. Somewhere in my collection of old, good things, I have an essay written for Firehouse Magazine by a volunteer fire chief (with a PhD in lit.) titled, “Once I Kould Not Even Spell ‘Captian,’ Now I Are One.” That says it all–how odd and yet exhilarating leadership feels when you’ve spent so much time slogging in the trenches. Use that feeling for all it’s worth– ten years will fly by like ten minutes, each year better than the one before. And in the end, like the song says, “The love you take is equal to the love you make.” There are more than three thousand of us (on line) pulling for you.


  4. Greg,

    It sounds as if there’s nothing but positives coming with your career change. I understand how positive change at the mid-life point can re-energize, refocus, & actually become a salvation of sorts. I am thrilled for you, your new focus & responsibility. I will pray for your stress to be minor, as I am positive you will weather it beautifully. 🙂



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