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e-book Getting Too Young For This!

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Colleague's E-mail is Invalid. Your message has been successfully sent to your colleague. Save my selection. Fowler is an emergency physician at MedStar St. There is little consequence to my life if I'm out with my son and am mistaken for his au pair. In fact, that's a problem most moms would probably be more than a little happy to have.

Except that I'm an emergency physician, and in the ED looking like you could be someone's au pair can have very real, very negative consequences for the patient-doctor relationship. Residency is a more collegial atmosphere, and to everyone looks young. But the issue gets real once you're the attending. Looking like you're too young to be a doctor can affect whether patients are confident and satisfied with your care. If any portion of your compensation is tied to patient satisfaction, looking like a something-year-old can affect your bottom line. Heaven forbid you look younger than that.

It's difficult to find studies on the subject of how a doctor's demographic characteristics affect patient satisfaction, patient compliance with plan of care, or any of the other metrics that we track and care about. Much of the scholarly literature that exists is designed to look for unfairness in health care delivery to the patient, particularly with regard to race. Those studies look at whether a doctor's care or a doctor's perceptions of their patients is affected by patient demographic factors such as race, income, or education.

But I haven't been able to find studies that go the other way, ones that measure whether a physician's age, perceived or otherwise, affects that physician's patient satisfaction scores. If these studies do exist, please tweet them to me MagpieMedicine.

I'm Too Young For That - Myxx - VAGALUME

I did a very unscientific survey of five physicians in my suburban community hospital. Four said they regularly receive comments about their age.


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Two of those are male. Admittedly, I was pleased that this affects my male colleagues, too.

The fifth, who is never called Dr. Howser, has gone prematurely gray.


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  • The bottom line is that appearing too young is a challenge for physicians under 45, and there are a lot of us. Even without the studies, common sense suggests that if a patient thinks you're too young to be qualified, he is less likely to trust your care decisions, more likely to push back when he doesn't get what he wants, and less likely to follow your discharge instructions.

    Get involved

    This is a serious problem from an outcome perspective and a patient satisfaction perspective. I'm sure I'm not the first to point out that patient satisfaction scores are often influenced by factors unrelated, or even in direct contradiction, to what is medically appropriate.

    Smart Guy Season 3 Episode 22 - Never too Young

    Patients are often poor judges of whether they received appropriate medical care. Yet, it would be inappropriate to say from a national policy perspective that we as a medical community should not care at all about whether the patient is satisfied with his care. There are no easy solutions to this, although a recent CMS decision to stop tying reimbursement to patients' responses about pain-management satisfaction is probably a step in the right direction.

    One way I've managed to mitigate negative perceptions that I may be too young is to earn and maintain the trust of the nursing staff. When the nurses and I enter a room together and it's clear that they have full confidence in me, that perception will often rub off on the patient. Meanwhile, demographics show that a whole generation of older physicians are about to retire, and they will be replaced with an even larger cohort of millennial physicians, so it's possible that over time patients will simply become more used to seeing younger physicians.

    When You Look Too Young to be the Doctor (or How Not to be Called Doogie Howser)

    The perception of being too young isn't really a problem with geriatric patients; they're used to everyone being younger than they are. Put yourself in the employer's shoes. Would you hire yourself? What do you offer that other candidates may not? These tips will help your resume stand out from the crowd.

    What you lack in experience, you make up for in passion , desire, and motivation to succeed. Let this passion shine through your resume; employers want to hire workers who are enthusiastic about their career choice. If you can take on less desirable tasks or work shifts, say so in your resume. A great way to relay the value you offer is by developing a qualifications summary.

    Here's an example of a summary for a photographer's assistant:. Talented photographer's assistant with a strong background in both theory and practical applications with hands-on experience as a photo assistant for magazine shoots and professional studios.

    Too Young for This Sh*t

    Possess a variety of cameras, lenses and tools; willing to purchase additional equipment at own expense. Knowledgeable and keenly interested in all aspects of the field, including still life, fashion, printing and stock photography. In the above example, the assistant used his summary to overcome possible objections to his youth and lack of experience.

    An employer might assume a young person lacks equipment, but his summary overcomes the objection by stating that he has equipment and is willing to buy more at his own expense. The employer might assume that he wouldn't have access to a darkroom, but his summary states that he does and is willing to work extended hours to get the job done.

    Although he has no work history in photography, he emphasizes unpaid experiences to show practical experience in the field. Write a list of objections that employers might have about hiring you. Next to each objection, write down why the objection isn't valid. Then incorporate the reasons why an employer should give you a chance in your summary statement. If you've ever been in a position of responsibility, provide details and examples on your resume to show you are reliable and trustworthy.

    These examples could be from work experience, volunteer activities , school projects, internships , hobbies and sports. Write about leadership responsibilities that you've had and completion of assignments for which you were selected over your peers.

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    If you have work experience, you can mention your perfect attendance record, additional duties assigned to you because of your excellent performance, and experience training new employees. Review job ads and employers' websites for industry terms and lingo you can incorporate in your resume. Your resume needs to demonstrate your knowledge of the occupation and employer, sending the message that you understand the business and your communication style fits in with the employer's culture.

    Getting your foot in the door is often a frustrating challenge.