Coach’s Corner On Delirium

I’m anticipating a busy time next month on the psychiatry consultation service. I suspect delirium will be the main event, as it is most of the time.

So I made a very short YouTube video on delirium. It’s cast in the style of a coach’s corner because I was one of the many clinicians who won the Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award this year.

I’m honored to be in such distinguished company and congratulate all the winners.

Coach’s Corner on Delirium

Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award: Humble Thanks

Today I want to thank everyone in my department for nominating me for the Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award . I accepted it during the Graduate Medical Education Leadership Symposium this afternoon.

For some reason, I almost wrote “Excellence in Clinical Clowning Award ” above. I guess maybe one of the reasons is that I was given an award (tongue in cheek) by the residents a few years ago when I made a pretty funny mistake giving a Grand Rounds presentation.

Much to my embarrassment, I somehow mixed up my slides so badly that many of them were out of order. I had to ad lib around that–a lot. Little wonder the residents whipped up the Improviser of the Year Award for outstanding improvisation during a Grand Rounds.

Improviser of the Year Award

Another honor I received about 8 years ago was a Feather in My Cap award after making the rank of Clinical Professor. The awardees had to come up with a favorite quote which guided them, and which was printed on the certificate. At the time, my favorite quote was:

“Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”

F. Scott Gitzgerald
Another feather in my cap

I think I chose that because I have sort of reinvented myself over the years, including going to medical school later in adulthood, trying private practice in psychiatry, and most recently transitioning to retirement.

I’m also very fond of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award about twelve years ago.

These days, other quotes are more important to me, like the one by Stephen Covey,

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.”

Stephen Covey

The comments praising today’s honorees, written in the the program by trainees and department colleagues, were heart warming for everyone. They brought back memories for all of us, I’m sure.

I struck up a conversation with an attendee about comparing coaches and mentors. I mentioned that in a previous post, “Spring,” on May 4, 2019. Many people tend to conflate the two roles, although I still favor the view that coaches tend to have shorter relationships that are more focused on skill building while mentors have longer term relationship more focused on career building.

However, both mentors and coaches serve as role models, something all teachers do. I have a short coaching video below for a skill I have often role-modeled for trainees–sitting with patients and listening to them for understanding.

In honor of Excellence in Clinical Coaching–and Clowning.

I’m also a big fan of a sense of humor on the Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry service, as anyone knows who has worked with me. My work-related anecdotes get more colorful, less accurate, and longer the older I get. I know when to cut them short, though–the trainees snore loudly. My hearing is still pretty good. I briefly considered getting a coach’s whistle—but thought better of it.


I’m coming up on my last 3 days for the academic year and reflecting now that my favorite season is upon us. Spring does that to me, especially now that I’ve been in the phased retirement contract for the last 2 years. I’ll be going into the 3rd and final year as of July.

I just found out that next week I’ll be among those faculty members selected to receive the Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award from the Gradual Medical Education Office at the Leadership Symposium.

I’ve received teaching awards from the residents at graduation time (another sign of spring!) over the years and I’m always grateful for their recognition. The Excellence in Clinical Coaching Award is recognition from my department as a whole, the members of which put together a nomination package including letters from department leaders as well as trainees.

 I’m also humbled by it because I’ve learned a lot from everyone with whom I’ve had the privilege of working, but my favorites are the trainees, including medical students. In fact, I learned from them again in the last week or so. Three talented medical students gave outstanding presentations about issues relevant to all physicians, not just psychiatrists.

They will be excellent physicians. They will teach others. They will lead and it’s a good thing—medicine needs them.

I like the coach idea. I know one of the internal medicine residents thought of me as a mentor. I’m aware of the differences between mentors and coaches as well as the similarities.

Coaches spend relatively less time with learners and the focus of the relationship is usually a set of specific skills which needs to be passed on. Mentors tend to develop longer term relationships and guide learners in broader ways in terms of career goals and more.

However, both mentors and coaches serve as role models, something all teachers do—including trainees.

That’s partly why I feel less troubled about retiring as my time to leave draws nearer. I trust the next generation of doctors and, just like the Supremes song says, “You better make way for the young folks.” It’s my time to leave. It’s their time to live.

Even the birds know that.

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