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Table 1 The Most Important Clinical Pearls Learned Along the Way

From: Sprinting into the field of neuro-ophthalmology from the streets of Brooklyn

Second Opinions • A good thing
• Sharing information is the key to learning and teaching
• Not a sign of weakness, but a sign of confidence!
• Require and demonstrate teamwork
Tough Medical Decisions • Even with scientific proof, the treatment options for your patient may not be clear
• You must always decide how you would want to be treated…
• …or how you would treat a family member, friend or colleague
• Listen carefully to the patient as they will often lead you out of the dilemma!
The Real Problem is Usually Greater than the Potential One • Don’t get overwhelmed by the consequences of medical therapy and leave the primary problem untreated
• It is your job to help the patient understand the risks of the disease and the treatment
• Be honest at all times
• It is okay to say “I don’t know”
Watch How Your Colleagues Act • It is okay to incorporate what they do, how they say and how they write it
• Copying effective behavior can lead to good care
• You will be judged by communication skills
• Remember the A’s of the effective colleague and physician – Affability, Availability, Attentiveness, Ability, Acumen
Healthy Relationships • Affiliate yourself with people that make you better as a doctor and person
• Avoid people who make you feel inferior
• Hang out with people who are smarter than you – it is the only way to get better
• One of the greatest rewards is to help a colleague improve their knowledge
Nonorganic or Organic? • There is almost always an emotional component to any illness
• Your job is to try to figure out those percentages – it is easy when the emotional component is small
• When it is 50–50, be very careful!
• Don’t get frustrated and be compassionate
• There is almost always a way to get your point across while being reassuring
Be Happy for Your Colleagues! • The most unhappy doctors need their competitors to fail to feel successful
• Don’t waste your neurons on unproductive thoughts
• Don’t worry – medicine will humble each of us on more than one occasion!
Learn More • No matter how much you know, be prepared to learn more
• The effective clinician is a student for life
• There can be errors of omission and commission – be open!
Try to Read Your Patient • Watch how they react to what you are saying, make the necessary adjustments
• Fight hard for your patients, let them know you are battling for them
• Be a passionate observer!
Your Personal Life is Important • Work hard to show your family and friends how important they are to you
• Try to do your best, no matter what that looks like!