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Things to Be Grateful For

I tend to be a pragmatist, which means that others describe me as a pessimist.  It means that I anticipate problems, plan for the worst, and often am ready with a plan for when things go wrong.  Events of the past month have been playing into the wheelhouse of my pessimism.  How do we manage with residents out on quarantine? How will we manage when COVID+ patients actually arrive in significant numbers? My work in the past two weeks has largely been preparing for the worst.

It is also important to counter the pessimism and disaster planning with optimism. Optimism is so important for sustaining us and keeping our spirits up.  Without optimism, it is tempting to take a defeatist attitude, which can lead to burnout and lack of focus. With everything that is going on, it is so important to take time to see the rays of sunshine, the bright side of the situation, or things that we can be grateful for.

Here is a list of things that you can consider being grateful for:

  1. This happened towards the end of the academic year when interns and residents are more familiar in their roles and comfortable with clinical work.
  2. Scrubs are allowed on any service at any time.
  3. We have technology that allows us to meet on a regular basis and continue important educational work.
  4. The weather is getting warmer, and soon we will reliably be able to be outside.
  5. Divisive political campaigning has been replaced by people working together in Congress to pass legislation to help all Americans.
  6. As essential workers, we are allowed out of our houses, allowing a semblance of our former routine to continue.
  7. Attendance at morning report and noon conferences remains high.
  8. We get the opportunity to work together as teams, and to witness and value the teamwork that we see happening elsewhere in this institution.
  9. I have seen the best of people – bravery, courage, teamwork, volunteerism – brought out by this adversity.
  10. We all have health insurance.  And job security.  Lots of job security.
  11. Parking is easier than it has ever been.
  12. Amazon. Hulu. Unlimited minutes.
  13. Pollution is at lower levels than has been seen in decades.
  14. We have some amazing interns joining us this summer, and our seniors are leaving us to go to amazing fellowships and jobs.
  15. People around the world are working hard to make sure that we have the tools we need to take care of the patients we will have. If you’re a podcast listener, you might find it inspiring to listen to #987: The Race to Make Ventilators.
  16. We are at an institution surrounded by smart people who know what they are doing and are willing to work hard.
  17. Got another idea? Let me know what you are grateful for and I will share it next week.

We are all pulling together, and we will make it through to the other side.

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