“We can’t hear you; take it off mute … you may have a smudge on your camera … much better … you might want to close that tab ….”
Explore This IssueSeptember 2020
Back in the 90s I read a book by Joel Barker called Paradigms. I was fascinated by this quote: “When a paradigm shifts, everybody goes back to zero. It doesn’t matter how strong your reputation, or how big your market share, or how good you are at the old paradigm.”
Over the years, we’ve all witnessed shifts in paradigms. Changes have occurred in how we shop, how we consume media, how we travel, how we approach clinical problems, etc. Rarely were physicians on the wrong end of the disruption; never before did it seem like they would go back to zero.
Earlier this year, a dramatic paradigm shift occurred: Clinics were closed for extended periods of time, professional societies cancelled in-person meetings, and certification examinations were postponed. Physicians, staff, patients, and professional societies were abruptly jolted into a crisis that seemed an acute threat to all things previously believed to be stable. The shift to waiting “two more weeks” for a big revelation that would return us to our old routines still hasn’t materialized. This pause has given many the opportunity to reflect on our true priorities and may have provided a much-needed wake-up call.
This time of year is usually filled with transitions and connections. Many are starting new jobs. We would be gathering at meetings to reminisce about the past, network, celebrate the achievements of our colleagues, and learn about new developments.
The article “Starting Out in a Pandemic” demonstrates the inspiring attitude of physicians like Samantha Hauff, who started a new practice and said, “It’s a big project, but you can break it down into a thousand small steps and get through them one by one,” and Blake Raggio, who said, “Things will all work out in the end, perhaps even better than you had originally planned.”
Daniel Knott and Rahul Seth’s article, “Transgender Care in Otolaryngology,” provides context and insight into a patient population that we may encounter in practice. It’s a meaningful reminder of the importance of understanding and helping all patients, especially those who are marginalized or disadvantaged.
Finally, there’s a feature article about the impact of COVID-19 on professional societies. Many of these groups have proven their invaluable role in our specialty. While we’ve all had struggles, we must continue to support our professional societies by participating in their programs, volunteering, and making charitable contributions so that they can continue to serve us.
In 2020, the paradigm abruptly shifted, and we got closer to zero than ever before. Hopefully, those who have faced challenges are now taking steps in the right direction. For those who are just starting out, may you have a successful and fulfilling career in our great specialty! As we rebuild our personal and professional lives, the enhanced versions will be informed by lessons learned during this time. I look forward to reconnecting in person soon.
“I have to jump off … I have another Zoom meeting starting ….”
Ronald B. Kuppersmith, MD, MBA
Deputy Editor, ENTtoday