In addition to these targeted efforts, the ACR’s current public relations campaign, Simple Tasks, also offers a unique way to promote rheumatology to medical/graduate students and residents. Simple Tasks (www.SimpleTasks.org), geared toward lawmakers, administration officials, advocacy groups, and other physicians and physician organizations, highlights the impact of rheumatic disease in the United States. It also promotes appropriate and timely referrals and legislation that ensures access to rheumatologists, and supports research and initiatives to grow the workforce. You can see bent forks, the Simple Tasks logo, being worn on the lapels of a number of the rheumatologists pictured here. By increasing the visibility of rheumatic diseases and the specialists who treat them, we champion the value of rheumatology as an attractive specialty to prospective rheumatologists.
Please take every opportunity that you have to share your happiness and your sense of purpose with all the medical students and residents with whom you come in contact. Let them see why we are happy—that we have control of our schedules (if not third-party payers), that we get to form long-term meaningful relationships with our patients, that we are valued by our peers for diagnostic skills, and that we change people’s lives. Share the Top 10 list with them or, better yet, make your own. Let them know that the biggest house on the lake or the newest Porsche can never provide the satisfaction or happiness that you get from making an elusive diagnosis, putting someone’s previously crippling RA into remission, getting a miraculous response when treating polymyalgia rheumatica, or controlling your schedule so you can be there for your daughter’s recital or your son’s ballgame. It truly is a great life. Keep smiling and make sure you pass it on!
Dr. O’Dell is director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program and division chief of rheumatology at the University of Nebraska, Omaha and the Omaha VA medical centers. Contact him via email at [email protected].