When I think of March, I immediately think of spring. And this year, I am more than ready for its arrival. I live for spring! I love this season of renewal, green trees, beautiful flowers in bloom, walks outdoors, cookouts with friends in the backyard, and warm, sunny days that await us as the days grow longer and the sunlight lasts longer.
And as a doctor, I also love the spring because it signals that we are coming to the end of a long cold and flu season. We are approaching the time of year that we get a much-needed break from treating these seasonal viruses, and I’m sure you’re looking forward to that just as much as I am.
In terms of legislation, it seems there is always something going on, and it pays for us to be aware of the latest news. On March 9, our delegate caucus for the OSMA annual meeting will take place, and I hope you’ll be involved. This is so vital to all we do as physicians. This year’s state legislative session kicked off in February, and already, more than 3,000 bills have been introduced for discussion. Of these bills, approximately only 200 actually deal with medicine and healthcare, and of those, about 150 are simply shell bills that don’t provide meaningful, substantive legislation. There is so much that can be done in Oklahoma, but it will only be done if we as physicians consistently make our voices heard.
March 21 is Medicine Day, the annual event which gives us an opportunity to meet one-on-one or in a group with our legislators and let our medical voice be heard. The afternoon legislative meet and greet takes places at the Oklahoma State Capitol, and is followed by a reception at the Harn Homestead. This provides a perfect way to reach out to our state representatives on issues that matter most to us as physicians. You can find out more details about Medicine Day on the OSMA website. If you’re unable to attend, remember that you can always reach out to your representatives by emails, letters and phone calls anytime throughout the year.
Finally, March 30 is National Doctors’ Day. Held in the U.S. on the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia in surgery, it is a day to celebrate all that we as individuals and as a collective group have contributed to our communities. It’s a time to reflect on, remember and even chuckle about the crazy and heartfelt decisions we’ve made to become a doctor, the work it has taken to get where we are today, and the people we’ve had the privilege of helping over the years.
It also makes March a perfect month to pay attention to our own well-being. As a physician, I know as well as anyone that it all too easy to allow ourselves to get so busy that we neglect our own wellness. With spring season arriving, I encourage everyone (myself included) to find ways, however small, to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and take time for your own health and wellness in whatever ways are important to you. As we care for ourselves, we set ourselves up to be able to extend good care to those we serve through our practice.
Sharon C. Smallwood, MD
TCMS President 2023
“Keeping the faith requires you to have a place to hold it. That place is your heart!”