Those of us in the medical field know that the most important part of a note is the Assessment and Plan. In many cases, it’s all we ever read. But how often do we take the time to assess our own lives and develop a plan to get where we want to be?

It’s difficult, to say the least. Whether you’re a medical student studying until after midnight, a nurse working 12-hour shifts without a bathroom break, a resident working “80-hour” weeks, or a busy practicing physician, it’s not likely that you find yourself with a lot of free time.

But while we have little time or attention for ourselves, we need it badly. Physicians have one of the nation’s highest suicide rates. Burn-out among medical students, doctors, and other healthcare professionals is rampant. Some organizations have sought to address these problems by offering various perks, “stress-reduction” programs, or training on the importance of sleep. But I’m pretty sure we already knew it’s important to sleep.

The problem won’t be solved by training, because it isn’t caused by a lack of knowledge. If anything, the training adds yet another demand. My aim with this blog is to help healthcare professionals (or those considering the field) think clearly about their priorities, set effective goals, and build a life they love.

I don’t write as someone who has figured it all out, but rather as another person trying to navigate life. I share my experiences and reflections with the hope that they help guide you just as they have helped to guide me.

Just like the practice of medicine, this blog won’t always be happy. It might make you angry or sad. You may find a particular post heart-warming. But hopefully, you’ll leave a little better than you came.

My name is Chad Hayes, and I’m a pediatrician in South Carolina. I did my undergraduate training at the United States Naval Academy and served as a nuclear power officer until a brief run of asystole resulted in medical retirement.

I left some great career opportunities on the table to go to medical school–not to write notes or click boxes, but to take care of patients. I earned my medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina and completed my pediatric residency at the Greenville Health System Children’s Hospital. I have dedicated my career to overcoming the obstacles presented by our healthcare system to provide better care to patients.

You can find me at my other blog, Demystifying Pediatrics, or follow this page on Facebook or Twitter.