I know a master plumber. I know a computer expert. But doctors? We just practice. Apparently, we never quite get the hang of it like others. Maybe it’s because we are always open to suggestion. If pipes are clogged, a master plumber has a solution to the problem. If your pipes are clogged and you see a gastroenterologist, who really knows what the best solution is? After all, the GI doc is still just practicing. 

Maybe that’s why bureaucrats make up inane rules to see just how much we can take before we run screaming for the hills. To a bureaucrat, “idiopathic” just means “the doctor is an idiot.” OK, bad example, considering that is, in fact, what “idiopathic” means. But, you see what I’m saying, right?

We need to quit practicing and move toward perfection. Here’s what professionals who have moved beyond practicing can teach us:

  1. Never say, “I’m not sure.” Instead, say: “Hmm. It’s very complicated.” 
  2. Throw away any textbooks lying around the office. They make patients think you have to look stuff up. That is so unprofessional (sneak and use the internet instead).
  3. Wear surgical scrubs, take off your rubber gloves as you enter the room, and wear a mask … a Star Wars mask. 
  4. Even if you are 20/15, wear big thick glasses. Oh, and speak with an English accent. 
  5. Hang a bunch of plaques around the office that have your name and some vague award such as “Top 20 (Anything) In America,” “Mensa salutes …” or “Grand Champion Eye Roper.”
  6. Have pictures of your family in every room—you, Beyonce and one of those hairless cats hanging around a grand piano listening to the 4-year-old triplets playing Bach. 
  7. Call your sales reps and tell them their visits are no longer needed because you already have everything any optometrist could ever possibly need … YOU. 
  8. During every examination, have a staff member interrupt to tell you the president is on line two. Just smile at the patient and say “I’ll call him back.” No need to tell them it’s the president of the PTA.
  9. Buy up old x-ray backlights and hang x-rays of skulls in every room. If not that, at least have screen savers of dreaded diseases on every computer in the building. 
  10. At the end of the exam, take your patient by the hand and tell them you will do all you can to prevent them from going blind from their meibomian gland dysfunction. 
  11. If a patient asks about your weekend, tell them you had dinner with Oprah. Don’t tell them you took Oprah for a walk and she chewed your slippers. 
  12. Get fit and eat right—or at least buy Spanx. 
  13. Wear a suit, so no matter who you see, you can say you just came from a “bored” meeting (spelled differently in writing, of course). 
  14. Learn everything about everything. That’s why they invented Wikipedia.
  15. Open your mind to new points of view instead of just believing you are the idiot who left the car running with the keys locked inside. 
  16. Marry somebody smarter than you. That was easy for me. 

You are still practicing. I would urge you to shake off the old mantel of “Wow! Now that’s a big bump on your eyelid!” and move up to “I’ve treated a million of those through the years and my best advice is to call a master plumber right away!”

Or maybe we should just be happy practicing, eh?