October 25th, 2010

The Empty Room

CardioExchange welcomes this guest post reprinted with permission from Dr. Westby Fisher, an electrophysiologist practicing at NorthShore University HealthSystem, Evanston, IL and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. This piece originally appeared on his blog, Dr. Wes.

It stands as a monument to a bygone era; clean, quiet, spacious. Mail cubbies adorn the wall with hundreds of names beneath each one — most with dust, but a few contain a few pieces of multi-colored papers within. A bulletin board sits on a wall with skewed notices of a car for sale, a house to rent, or an upcoming meeting — hoping, somehow, that someone will take notice. In the back, an oversized coffee pot sits with day-old coffee and a few styrofoam cups where once there was a fruit basket, granola bars, yogurt cups and collection of pastries. A few lockers have padlocks, but whether they are opened any longer is uncertain.

A desolate expanse. If a breeze blew, you could almost envision tumbleweed passing.

It’s just not the same anymore in the hospital’s Doctor Lounge.

3 Responses to “The Empty Room”

  1. Robin Motz, M.D., Ph.D. says:

    When our new hospital was built 15 years ago, they deliberately omitted a doctor’s dining room, the trustees stating that there was no need for the doctors to eat and converse in private!

  2. thomas augustine, MD says:

    Yet another classic bastion of our profession lost. Somebody just turn out the lights when they leave. I had a good 40+ year ride and simply am unable to relate to the current state of our vocation. The changes have come too swiftly and profoundly to be able to make a valid assessment of them. Sayonara, I have to go make a house call on the way home.

  3. Gerald Cohen, B.Sc., MD says:

    There are many excellent reasons to reinvent the doctor’s lounge. Foremostly, there are times during the day when physicians desperately need a place where they can obtain rest, relaxation, and congenial support. A 10 – 15 minute rest can translate into better energy and state of mind that might improve efficiency and quality of patient care. This is also a great (and cost-effective) way for hospitals to attract physicians (and the patients they care for). It implies that a hospital cares about the well-being of their physician staff. Massage chairs, beverages, snacks, plants, aquariums, natural lighting, water walls or fountains, ipads, Bose head phones and ipods, etc… are some ideas on how the lounge can be made very attractive to physicians.