Physician Outlook

The Human Spirit

The human spirit is a powerful tool in healing and overcoming the most difficult situations. Our dire patients can test our spirit questioning our own personal beliefs while hoping for a miracle to bring them back from the brink. These patients that can summon the strength to fight for their life can have a profound influence on our careers. Over the course of your career you will find that medicine mixed with the human spirit can achieve a better outcome for you and your patients.


There will be times where you doubt your personal beliefs or, as I call it, spirit.  The subconscious mind and the strength of our patients is something you draw on for support your entire career.


My journey began in the surgical ICU as a young intern. Our service had a patient, we’ll just call him Mr. Powerful.  Well, Mr. Powerful was in a comatose state on every conceivable life support you can imagine, pharmaceutical and otherwise.  So, it was the middle of one quiet Sunday night, and I ventured to his bedside and I began to wonder what if I appeal to his subconscious "spirit"!   I began to shake his bed and speak into his ear up close that I wanted him to call on his inner will to improve.


Well low and behold, his blood pressure came up, and his pulse slowed down!  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I rattled his bedrails and talked loudly in his ear that he was struggling, and he needed to rally and try and survive for himself and his family.  Guess what?? He did!  So, both his family and I continued to shake and rattle on!


There will be times in your life and practice where you will need to dig deeply into your inner spirit as well as that of your patients. These can be a "pep talk" for a big event or an operation.  For me, doing so helped myself and my patients and their families to cope and overcome some of the most difficult of situations.


Remember to shake, rattle and roll thru your career, bearing in mind the strength of the human spirit.  The powerful tool that supports you, your patients and their families.  Medicine always improves with the human touch and the spoken word.


To read more of Dr. Rick Zollinger's blog "The Script Pad" go to


MD Coaches, LLC is a company dedicated to developing and empowering physicians to realize a greater satisfaction in their roles. Understanding the challenges and operational concerns for both physicians and hospital administrators. MD Coaches utilizes experience and coaching skils to support their physician clients in establishing strategies for positive career progression.


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