No Heat in the Desert
I am blogging again my friends. Blogging is freedom in the 21st Century; the modern equivalent of standing on a soapbox in Speakers’ Corner in London. Still, only old people write formal blogs now, young people microblog. They use Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, or Instagram. Blogging is no more modern than an open radical prostatectomy is sexy; actually its old-fashioned and beneath me. Still, I like it. And more importantly, it gives me an easy outpost to write about urology in an informal manner. So off we go – I am going to give blogging its sexy back.
For the past 20 years, my department at the University of Pittsburgh has sponsored and developed a course to aid board-eligible urologists tackle the oral urology boards (or part 2). We locate the course in Scottsdale, Arizona in Maricopa County. Maricopa county was recently in the news for having a controversial sheriff cited by the Department of Justice for “engaging in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing” and had “a chronic culture of disregard for basic legal and constitutional obligations.” I use this to scare the candidates into submission. If they misbehave I simply release them into the streets and lock the hotel door. Good luck out there!
I have been the supreme leader – or king as my followers call me – of the course for the past 3 years. The onus is on me to develop, curate, prod, shape, and refine the protocols for the exam. Naturally, I do a great job. This year we had an active hashtag following the course #GUMOCK13.
The urotwitterati were in heavy attendance from Dr. Loeb (@LoebStacy) gracing us with her fashionista presence, and the braintrust of Drs. Morgan and Kutikov (@wandering_gu and @uretericbud) were also there. Even my colleague Dr. Averch (@tdave) made a good twitter presence (a breakthrough). The break dancing and karaoke crooner Prof. Cooperberg (@cooperberg_ucsf) also had a defining presence.
The highlight for me was the profound talk from our guest motivational speaker Wayne Sotile. Just calling yourself a motivational speaker makes me yearn for a shotgun. As a non-believer I was thoroughly entertained and – more importantly – actually learned a great deal about the work/family balance. Some highlights with (tongue-in-cheek) twitter reactions as hyperlinks:
- It is not the absolute hours you work that impacts your family life it’s the mood you bring home with you. Tweets here….
- We work in a high-demand and low-control environment – that is the ultimate stressful situation. Tweets here…here
- Levels of intimacy plummet until the 10 year mark in your marriage then they increase markedly. Tweets….here
The course ended with overall good reviews. The candidates appeared well-prepared, fine young doctors and I was impressed. Still – with a fail rate hovering at 11% the stress levels are high for these physicians. It did not help that the hotel seemed unable to provide the comfort we all desire after working all day and drinking all night – a hot shower. Over 50% of the attending participants had to contend with a cold or tepid shower because of a failed water pump that the hotel scampered to fix. I didn’t mind the dishevelled hippie hair look and – luckily – it appeared to keep the Sheriff’s department at bay.
Benjamin Davies is Assistant Professor of Urology at the University of Pittsburgh; Program Director, Urologic Oncology Fellowship and Chief, Division of Urology Shadyside Hospital. His views are his own. @daviesbj
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