“What do you do for fun?”
That is my favorite question. And I use it with patients and learners.
With patients, it opens a window to the possibility of anhedonia. It also helps you understand who the patient is. Just asking the question often creates a sense that we care about the person who has the disease.
In the outpatient setting you can use the answer on each visit to gauge the patient’s quality of life. If you have someone who regularly fishes, and then one day no longer goes fishing, you probably have a clue that something serious is wrong. If they have been fishing, the fact that you asked sends a clear message to the patient.
With learners, again it helps us understand our teammates. While I do not have data to prove it, having an attending physician who wants to know who you are helps team dynamics.
I ask the question, and then I have another important question on the inpatient service. After a learner has a day off, I try to ask them how their day went. What did they do? And I share my non-medical activities with the team.
So try this question. What do you do for fun? Do your learners know? Do you know them?
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