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Jane Doe, MD–My Mid-Life Career Sabbatical

Chapter 13–A Presentation Gone Awry

By Jane Doe, MD

power point presentationThis week, the two of us assigned to “procedures” and not “on call” were told on Thursday that one of us was to come up with a mini educational presentation for the following day.  My colleague did not jump at the opportunity for a variety of reasons so I volunteered in short order.

I am not the PowerPoint Queen.  It takes me a long time to prepare any thing for formal public display even if the public is two other fellows, a resident and one attending.  First, there is the choice of a topic and some general reading of a few sources to decide how to focus and frame the presentation and discussion.  Then there is the specific work of finding and citing the pertinent resources so the details are correct and making a list of key references and resources.  Finally there is the creation of a series of slides to function as prompts to me and as memory aids to the audience.  It took me five hours and I skipped the nap I have in the afternoon if I get home early enough and my usual exercise session.  I sent it to my institutional email and saved it on the institutional server and a flash drive.  I was prepared to present in any venue.

Friday came and mid day the clinical press slowed.  I anticipated being asked to present to the group.  On Fridays the primary service attending leaves when the load can be easily handled by the back up attending.  This she, the assigner, did.  The back up attending was telling those not needed to leave, he knew nothing of the planned presentation.  I was hardly going to say, “Hey.  Wait.  Stay.  I put a lot of time into this.”

I benefitted from this exercise in many ways.  I would also have benefitted from a nap or exercise so I found the episode annoying.  In fellowship, the ability to say no or create one’s own timeline is diminished.  I let it go.

Jane Doe, MD is pursuing another year of fellowship training after having spent 20 years in a successful practice.  These are her thoughts and observations from an unusual “gap” year.


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