Nancy Andrews on Reviving our Passion


We need to get back to a place where the faculty can enjoy doing what it's doing more than it does now, and can reconnect with the reasons that they chose to do medicine or science or education. Collaboration has never been more important, the environment is stress for everyone, and I think when you have the synergy that comes from collaboration, you can do things that take us to the next level.

Faculty are very stressed right now. Also the people who are primarily clinicians are feeling like they need to do more, better, faster. Those who try to mix education, and clinical care, research, and clinical care don't have enough hours in the day, are worried about where their funding is going to come from for research, are worried about not spending enough time with learners. So I don't in my, I don't know how many years it's been now, but maybe 35 years in academic medicine, I don't think I've seen as much stress.

What we really need to do is evolve to a new state, and it's going to mean making changes to our culture and out structure that we're going to have to figure out as we go along. It is very important to move towards more patient centered care, that's something I'll speak about later tonight. But I think it actually can be a way to help relieve some of the stress on the system.

Distributing elements of care to the patient, to other healthcare professionals, according to what people are able to contribute will help not only lead us to a more patient centered approach, but also will help doctors get back to a place where they can feel like they're not on a mouse wheel or whatever, but are really doing what they're there to do.

What keeps me up at night is worrying that we're going to lose one or two generations of young scientists, and particularly young physician scientists that they have choices for other things they can do, and that sometime 10 years from now when people, my generation, and older have retired or are retiring all of a sudden they'll realize there's not enough people coming up to fill it in.

It looks bad now. It's not going to stay bad forever, and the opportunities in medicine, and science are phenomenal, they were what we have now was unimaginable when I was a student. It's only going to get better, and the research funding situation and the organization of clinical care problems are going to get worked out, and so it's going to be a great career.