Dr. Kain Weaver


Episode Description

Ben sits down with Dr. Kain Weaver a 3rd year psychiatry resident in Charlotte North Carolina and friend from medical school.  Kain shares his own medical journey through residency.  Plus, they touch on margins, habits, as well as the one trait that Kain says makes a good physician. 

Ben 0:00
Hey y’all. Welcome back to beyond surviving residency, a podcast dedicated to helping residents like you find more rest, fulfillment and clarity amidst the chaos of residency. I’m your host Benjamin long. Through this series, I hope to equip you with practical tools to move away from just surviving residency and toward flourishing despite it, y’all this week, I get to sit down with Dr. Kane Weaver. He’s originally from Ringgold, Georgia and got his bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and his MD from Mercer University where I met him at the School of Medicine. And he’s currently a third year psychiatry resident at the Sandra and Leon Levine psychiatry residency program at atrium health Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, y’all, it was so great to reconnect with Kane, and his story of perseverance through residency, despite his own medical journey is just truly inspirational. Plus, we touch on getting into the habit of exercising, as well as the one trait that Cain says makes a good physician. Y’all ready to find out? Let’s get started.

All right, I am here with Dr. Kain Weaver. Kain, thank you so much for coming onto the show.

Kain 1:33
Yeah, thanks for having me.

Ben 1:35
Yeah. So for everyone who doesn’t know Kane and I went to medical school together. So our paths have separated, obviously. I’m in Anchorage, Alaska, and you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina. Okay, I’ve already kind of introduced you to the listeners as far as a little bit of your background for where you’re at for residency. But maybe tell us a little bit about yourself and the path that led you to medical school?

Kain 2:05
Yeah, I really, I just honestly, I’m one of those people. That was just I enjoyed science. And I always always volunteering kind of, in different services, like helping people throughout undergrad. And so medical school just seemed like the logical choice to kind of merge both of those things. Yeah, absolutely. And I feel like that is so many people’s stories of just like that combination of service science together. And that medicine is a good overlap for that. How medical training has been like for you, if you want to go back to medical school, or kind of go through that through residency.

Oh, man. Well, it’s a long path. But But, but also, as long as it’s been, it’s also gone by really quickly. And it’s been challenging, but I’ve also really enjoyed it. You know, I’ve made great friends along the way. And I can’t really see myself doing something else. Because I, I like that I can be in a job where I actively am helping people every day. It’s something that makes you feel good about kind of what you’re doing with your life.

Ben 3:14
Yeah. And I think psychiatry is such an awesome specialty, because it’s everywhere, and all other specialties.

Kain 3:23
Oh, my God it’s everywhere. Yeah.

Ben 3:28
And it’s like to be a good physician, you’ve got to also be somewhat of a psychiatrist, too.

Kain 3:36
You do, you do.

Ben 3:37
Cause everyone is kind of struggling with something? And, you know, so I’m specialized in Sleep Medicine. And even though I mainly focus on kind of more of the, like, Sleep Apnea side of things. Certainly, I have people who come in with, like insomnia and stuff. A lot of overlap between that and behavioral health.

Kain 3:57
Oh, my gosh, I talk about sleep every day.

Ben 4:02
Good. Yeah. And so I would like to start off with, you know, what is a common stereotype about psychiatry that you have witnessed that you’re like, Yeah, that’s definitely not true.

Kain 4:19
Something that I had heard before, like going into psychiatry myself, was just that psychiatrist, people who choose psychiatry go into it, because they are trying to find out more about themselves.

Ben 4:34
Okay. Interesting.

Kain 4:35
And I wouldn’t say that’s true. I mean, in some cases, that can be I guess, but I would say that that’s not overall true.

Ben 4:42
Gotcha. Yeah. And psychiatry. That’s five, is it five years?

Kain 4:48
It’s four. It’s four years after medical school.

Ben 4:51
Gotcha, gotcha. And maybe kind of let’s dive into a little bit about your time in residency and what the experience has been like for you.

Kain 5:02
Oh my gosh, my residency experience has been so tumultuous. And not just because of residency itself, which has been very challenging, but because of my life, like just the turn that it took after medical school.

Ben 5:16
Yeah. So let’s, let’s go there. Talk a little bit about your medical journey.

Kain 5:22
Yeah. So I, I was in my intern year, I was actually at the very end of my intern year, and I was working out like I do every day. And I had a stroke, like a really major stroke from a brain arteriovenous malformation that ruptured, and I nearly killed me. I was very fortunate, I was actually taken to I was on vacation in Savannah, where we both in medical school, and I was taken to our hospital by ambulance, where the neurosurgeon there had to remove half of my skull, stop the bleed, and they had to put me into a medically induced coma for a few weeks. And whenever I woke up from that, I was completely paralyzed on the left half of my body, which was absolutely terrifying to wake up to. And from there, I had to I was very fortunate to live the neurosurgeon definitely is like you should not have lived like that is very rare that people survive what happened to you. And basically, from there, I was transferred from that hospital to a neuro Rehabilitation Hospital. Without my school mind. I mentioned my, my school actually went to West Virginia, and I went to Atlanta. And I was in the hospital for almost four months without the right half of my school. Oh, wow, I had to wear a helmet every day. And I had to do you know, physical therapy, occupational therapy, all these different therapies. And I had my Fortunately, you know, I started getting some function in my arm and some function in my leg, left arm that his left leg, my right side was not affected at all. I had to literally relearn how to walk and use my left arm again, which I’m thankful to say because of all the work that happened. There I am, you know, I went from walking on this machine called the local mat, where it was like a robot that literally moved my left leg for me to going from there to using a walker to using a cane. Now, I don’t use a cane or anything, I just walk. But I do have a little device that helps with foot job. That’s on my left arm, left leg. Now I’m summarizing this as if it was like kind of a quick thing like this. We’re talking like a process. This was the process that happened over I’m still wearing the device on my left leg.

Ben 7:44
Yeah. I was gonna say how you kind of went through all that like, “Oh, yeah, I was in coma for a few weeks.” No biggie.

Kain 7:54
No, no, it has been Wild. So I took a year out of residency to go through all of this. And then after the year, I actually was like, Yeah, let’s go back and, and I went back to residency and I’m now in my third year, but the medical stuff didn’t stop there. Like I subsequently developed epilepsy from that brain bleed. And that’s like my current challenge I was on last year actually, I was in a patient’s room on the console service. And I went into Status Epilepticus. And, and I woke up in the neuro ICU at midnight, and was intubated. And I tried to extubate myself and it was wild and epilepsy. From that point forward. seizures were like my biggest struggle from that point forward. So on top of like, having these difficulties with walking and everything else that you know, the stroke kind of played into I now, like, have difficulties with seizures. And so we’re fine. I mean, I just had a seizure like two months ago, and so we’re not completely under control. We’re still working things out. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s been like my medical journey through residency.

Ben 9:08
Yeah. Well, thank you for being willing to, like, share that. And I am just like, so taken back talking to you right now of just your your perspective and attitude toward it, which I’m sure I would imagine, you know, having to do deal with that every single day and persevere and get through that. There’s obviously like, lots of highs and lows and the reality of it, but…

Kain 9:35
Oh my gosh, yes.

Ben 9:37
Yeah. Just the way that you talk about it, and your perspective is so hopeful. So So that’s, that’s really amazing. And curious, how has that experience impacted you as a physician has it shifted at all how you look at medicine and practice medicine?

Kain 10:00
Yeah, and I’ll first even point like, kind of talk about the hopeful thing. I think if it was just up to me handling all of what I just said, I went through, I, I want to say that I probably would have quit and tapped out. That was, that was so much to go through. But I really have like an amazing support system that that’s what really kind of got me through that, you know, they just kept helping me through all the tough moments. And they still helped me that I think really played into why I was able to do that, that and I really use humor to just get these up. So if someone had to go through all of that I was probably the right person. Because I can be like, Yeah, my school is in freakin West Virginia, and I’m here in Atlanta, trying to learn how to walk, you know. But like, as far as how that affected me as a physician, it has been so eye opening, because I had never really been in a situation even remotely close to this. And to see just how difficult it is, as a patient. It blew my mind, you know, no pun intended. But it really did. I mean, it’s so hard as a patient, and just the whole hospital experience was extremely difficult. And I saw some things in medicine that I really want to change. Yeah, go into that. Yeah, like just the way that we speak to our patients. words carry such a heavy, heavy, heavy impact on patients. And I don’t know that people in medicine right now, for the most part, realize just how heavy of an impact your choice of words and the way you convey them can impact a person, whenever they’re in the hospital, or whenever they’re trying to look toward their future. I unfortunately did have some healthcare workers that were less careful with what they said to me, or how they said it. And it made things so difficult. And I remember being in there, and I was like, I’m never going to be like that with my patients. I’m actively going to fight against it.

Ben 12:09
Yeah, that’s such a good point. Because I feel like a lot of us encounter that in training. And we have either colleagues or mentors or things that either say things or something like that. And you’re like, oh, I don’t know if I exactly like, say it that way. And I at least what my struggle had been was trying to find a way to talk about that. Because I, I felt like I wouldn’t say something that way. But it was hard for me to well, one, if it was an authority figure to address like, “Hey! You shouldn’t say that to your patient!” But also at the same time, even though we have like a code of ethics and talk about professionalism, it doesn’t seem like there is really this kind of like, unifying description, definition, whatever you’d say that, unlike those situations where you’re, you’re in those moments, and we as a profession can agree and say, “Oh, hey, a good physician would not say that or speak that way to their patient.”

Kain 13:20
Yeah, there’s not and I like I, I saw, you know, through my training, I’ve definitely seen attendings talk to residents in a way that I feel is inappropriate. And I’ve seen, you know, residents talk down to medical students in a way that I think is inappropriate. And it just transcends, I think that a lot of people don’t realize this continues to transcend down to patient care, or a doctor or resident or whoever may talk to a nurse or you know, a tech, whatever, whoever it is, in a way that I like, I was just incredibly mind blown that that happened, because it in turn comes down to that person then feels horrible and translates to their patient care. And so this condescension or rudeness, whatever it is, it does keep trickling downward, and the person who pays the price for it is the patient.

Ben 14:11
Yeah, that’s so good. And this leads kind of connects to the next question actually have the concept of like, difficult patients and I’m really interested as I’m talking to residents from other specialties, like my primary training in pediatrics, there is certainly kind of like this archetype of a difficult patient that when they come into the office or something like that, everyone’s kind of like, oh, gosh, this person. So I’m curious, does does have you witnessed in psychiatry are there these kind of quote, difficult patients and we go into that a little bit

Kain 15:00
100 present, there are a lot of difficult patients. And I think from our perspective, it’s whenever you feel like you’re not in a position to be able to help in it, it just comes down to, you know, you try coming up with different plans or ways to try to help, you know, said person, but you feel like it’s not helping them. And it’s difficult for us because, you know, you’re, you feel like you’re just throwing options and, or like, you know, that there’s just not the right support out there to get them what they need, and it no matter what you do, you know, they need, you know, XYZ, but XYZ is not available to them. And that we see that a lot in psychiatry.

Ben 15:43
Yeah, yeah. And that, you know, that’s one thing I’m trying to address on this podcast a little bit is the moral formation of residents as we are kind of going through the medical education process. And I think that touches on kind of this topic of moral injury or moral distress. And so far, my understanding of that is where it’s that disconnect, of I have this idea of what this patient needs and what should happen. And yet, I don’t have either the resources or the ability or in a situation to be able to kind of get that for what the patient needs and why. And that is, I feel like we don’t talk about it enough the impact that has on physicians and people who are trying to help these patients, and then, you know, it’s like, it’s not like a one off that happens, like over and over and over again.

Kain 16:44
Oh, my gosh, especially, I mean, psychiatry, I feel like you know, we’re in an era where mental health is becoming a lot more popular to talk about and hope with, which is I’m grateful for, but at the same time, we still have a long, long way to go. And so we still are very limited with what resources we can offer patients. And yeah, it makes it hard to it’s kind of like you’re wanting to build a chair or a bench with your end, you have all this wood on the ground. But you open your toolbox, and there’s no hammer or nail in so it’s difficult, you just become frustrated.

Ben 17:17
Yeah, absolutely. So you kind of jumped back into residency, and maybe kind of talk a little bit more about that of, once you kind of jumped back in, how have you changed you feel like through your time in residency, after kind of coming back from that

Kain 17:36
I’m confident 100% in the type of doctor that I want to be or the title, like who I need to be for my patients from going through my experience. I know first, you know, I always like thought I knew what I wanted to be in. As a physician, I always like I felt that what I was doing was the right way to approach being a physician. But I 100% don’t question the type of doctor I should be, and what I should advocate for as a physician for you know, not only my patients, but for residents. Because it’s important that we take care of ourselves so that we can continue to care for others. And if if we’re not taking care of ourselves, you can’t take care of other people. Bottom line, right?

Ben 18:20
Wow, that is such a amazing gift. I mean, it’s it’s a hard gift. That’s, that’s so encouraging of having that vision and that clarity, maybe let’s kind of go down to the, to the practical a little bit as far as like your typical kind of day. One thing that I talk about on this podcast that I’m trying to introduce is this concept of margins and who we are outside of the workplace. So walk through kind of like what for your typical rotations, whether it’s a busier or an easier rotation. What does your time outside of work look like? From the time that you wake up until you go back to sleep?

Kain 19:06
Yeah, so I’ve always kind of had like this, you know, structure of waking up really early and working out before the day really get started. So I, I wake up at five, and I go work out and that’s how I get my day started. I think it’s a great way to just kick the day off, right? And you know what I don’t I actually never want to wake up when my alarm clock goes off, but I do anyways. And I go and I work out I always am thankful that I did work out after it’s over with and that’s just a good way to get the day started, you know, blood to the brain and just feel good. I lower my stress levels. And then I go into work. So that’s before the day starts and then after work, usually, usually depending on the rotation this year, I’m in outpatient all year. So I’m finishing around, you know, six at least, and I go home I cook dinner, I always, I also am like a cooker. I like to cook healthy meals that supplement my fitness goals. And if I have work leftover to do or notes that I have to finish, I tried to do those after I’ve showered and have like a candle lit and in my bed or at least on the couch and like just kind of chilling, you know, trying to make trying to make something that sucks. Not not suck as much. Yeah,

Ben 20:27
No, actually, I love that. So do you light a candle every night? Or is that just kind of every now and then?

Kain 20:35
Pretty much every night.

Ben 20:37
No, there is something about marking a space and a time for something that I think can be really powerful. So I think that’s really cool that you’re like, Okay, let me kind of get into my space and the headspace and kind of relax a little bit before having to like tackle this thing that I really don’t want to do. Because man, like I, I probably come home and tell my wife multiple times, like if I could just be a doctor but not have to write notes. Then, like I could do this for the rest of my life.

Kain 21:13
If I can never write another note again, I would literally do this till the day I die. But note notes really are so horrible. Especially I mean psychiatry notes. I don’t know if you’ve seen how long they are, but they’re so long. Right? And I’m trying to get them shorter, trying to be better at it. But otherwise, like outside of that, I also try to make it a point, you know, one evening through the week, that’s not Friday night, Friday night, I usually do something fun. But like one evening, Monday through Thursday, I try to pick to do something kind of fun, you know, are more social. So like this week, I’m going going out for Taco Tuesday with a with a my friends, you know, just something to look forward to that’s in the not all the way at the end of the week, you know?

Ben 21:59
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think that is so critical while you’re in training, because it’s so easy to have so many other voices that are like, “You need to be studying, and you need to be working on your research, and you need to be doing this and that and that,” and you’re like, just like you said, like, “Hey, in order to like, be a good physician, I need to have these boundaries for myself. And to kind of Yeah, be there for my patients.”

Kain 22:27
Yeah. And from my medical experience, like, you know, I almost died at the age of 28. And so, and I, you know, I was going so hard with like, my studying with my working. And I’ve realized there’s so much more to life, like, do I want to do that every single day. And then like, possibly die again, from Ai. Like, the reality is, you know, there could be something else that kills me, you know, it could be in a car accident, whatever. And I was like, No, I really need to be enjoying every single day. I mean, I still need to do those things. But I need to also be enjoying and living life at the same time.

Ben 23:00
Right? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think, Man, that is so good. I think some people cliche kind of, say that, like, “live today, like it’s your last day!” or something like that. You know, I have some heartburn over those kind of cliche answers, because like, really is my like, perfect day, like coordinating stuff for this patient in order for it to like fall through and then have an attending yell at me and then like, do this right, or I messed up this order, or someone’s mad at me because I’m not being efficient enough as a doctor or something like that. Is that really my best day?

Kain 23:42
That’s not the way I want to go out. And I like, you know, I have had so many of these medical challenges in residency, and it’s very possible I can continue to have them or I couldn’t like, like I said, be in the car, and then a random person hits and kills me. So I’ve had this, like, come to Jesus moment where it’s like, okay, you’ve got to work but work isn’t all of your life. So also enjoy it.

Ben 24:08
Yeah, yeah. being intentional to find that, that joy outside of work, man, so critical. And maybe take us through if you’re on a busier inpatient rotation, does that change at all for your margins?

Kain 24:28
It can, it can. So like, you know, inpatient is obviously more intense in terms of like, getting to the hospital earlier. So like, but I still because five 5am is a pretty safe time to say is early to go work out. Because one thing was psychiatry is patients don’t want you going in their room at 5am to talk with them about whatever it is you’re gonna talk to. If they don’t, they’re gonna they’re gonna get really mad. Yeah. And so, so it’s, you know, fair to not have to get to the hospital. So about seven Yeah. Or, you know, I feel like I’d be comfortable kind of going in Even a little later than that, because if I were in the hospital for something psychiatric, that’s even still very early to be going in for. And as a patient, I can say it’s very frustrating as a patient who’s been in the hospital, it’s very frustrating to have, you know, 25,000 people coming in your room really early in the morning. Yeah, good progress cannot be made with that. And so for me, I would still like up at five go work out. But try to get to the hospital around seven for inpatient, you know, do my pre round kind of charting, chart review, see what’s going on there. And then, you know, go check on my patients. And then we have treatment team in psychiatry. You know, we have every social worker, psychiatrist, we have the text, we have the nurse, all kind of meet together, and you know, anyone else that’s gonna be helpful in providing information that can help this patient, kind of talk about the patient case and what we can do with them and kind of what we learned in our interview with the patient that morning. And I still cook at night, no matter what I still cook at night. I mean, I’ve got to eat. Especially with epilepsy, you can’t be skipping meals.

Ben 26:07
That’s true. Yeah, that’s totally fair. Yeah. Okay. I’m curious. So, you know, one of the questions I typically ask residents is kind of like, what is the biggest roadblock or challenges you faced during residency? And, you know, we’ve kind of touched on a little bit of, you know, just your medical journey. But I’m curious, what do you see maybe in other residents, that is a big roadblock for your colleagues, for them in the day to day life of being a psychiatry resident,

Kain 26:41
I think it could be finding that time and energy to invest in themselves, either whether it be working out whether it’d be investing in going out with their friends, because that means that they, at the end of the day, they’re so tired, or, you know, they just, they just want to go home and go to bed. And, and so it’s difficult to kind of manage whatever it is, especially if they have children in restaurant, and you know, several of our residents have a family, and it’s harder for them to kind of prioritize those things.

Ben 27:13
Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. Man. Well, we’ve like blown through, like all of the questions that I sent you.

Kain 27:25
We Did!

Ben 27:26
Yeah, yeah. So as you’re kind of wrapping up. Once again, thank you so much for coming on. This has been such a good conversation. I end every interview with these two questions. Tell me about what’s one thing you’re doing to move toward flourishing instead of just surviving right now.

Kain 27:44
Oh, my gosh, I one thing I do toward flourishing, and that everyone can do is go work out and do it in the morning, just going to wake up, get it done. And you won’t believe how incredible you feel after you’ve started doing this for a few weeks, you’ll be in the swing of it, and you will just be conquering the world, you will never your alarm clock will go off, I’ll warn you, once it goes off, you will never be like, Oh, I’m so happy to go work out you will always be like I’m gonna turn it off. But if you go do that, you will just start your day so well. And you’re typically I will say, everything is so much better when you do that.

Ben 28:22
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I totally agree. And I, I am certainly not as fit as I need to be and work on that. But you’re right, once you are getting into the habit of it, it’s not easier. But definitely it’s like you’ve created that automated response. And so it’s like it just is less of a considering it as a choice. You know, if you’re gonna do it, like for me, if I adjust my system by like laying out my workout clothes, and like having my phone on the other side of the room, so I have to actually like get out of bed and like wash it off. Then I have created the system where I’m like, Okay, I’m up. Let me go ahead and change and then let me go you know, workout. Does that always happen? No, sometimes I change and then I still go back and lay down in bed.

Kain 29:13
Yeah, that happens with me too. Like sometimes I’ll be like, and I listened to my body if that happens because I’m like there’s a reason I’m so tired that I need to go back to bed and I listened to it I get back in bed. But if you notice that that’s a recurring pattern. It’s problematic. And you really should like I lay out my water bottle I lay out my workout clothes. I always you know create my workouts and plan them and so I have like this little workout book and I put them all together on the kitchen table and I just I changed into them and I honest I go to the gym I work out and I will say like 90% of the time it it goes that way.

Ben 29:50
Yeah. And I one thing I’m working on that I’m trying to kind of help package to help residents a little bit is This idea of consistency of doing that habit over the expectation of what you need to do for the habit. So what I mean by that is, if in your margin because, you know, maybe you have like a super long commute, so you don’t have as much time in your margin, or you have to get your own kids out of, you know, out to school or something, whatever. Maybe all you have is like five to 15 minutes to spend on like that activity, then it’s like, then just move your body for like 15 minutes, even if that is like, “Okay, I’m going to like right here, do some sit ups and push ups and have a pull up bar and, or I’m just going to go jog for around the block a couple times.” – something like that. That’s still worth it. Because if you are doing that every day, that is going to build that habit. So then when you move to a season of life where you have more degrees of freedom, you’ve established the habit, so that way, you’re like, “Okay, now I have more time, so I can be able to expand my workouts and what I do kind of a thing.”

Oh, yeah!

I think that’s such a barrier for so many people is it’s like, well, it’s not like a good I don’t have time for a good workout. You know, like, I don’t have a full hour. I don’t have, you know, whatever perceived amount of time to be able to accomplish that as it needs to be. And it’s like, no, like, let’s get practical here. Like, Oh, yeah. If you don’t have that in your margin, then that’s not realistic

Kain 31:18
That’s not an excuse.

Ben 31:25
Yeah, yeah. So, go ahead and like, do what you can to be able to establish that.

Kain 31:51
And that’s been my motto is like, you know, I like do what you can and just be proud of yourself for doing that, you know, like, it’s not just like, Okay, well, then I’m willing to do nothing like, you know, for me with learning how to walk again. It’s like, okay, yeah, like, Am I able to sprint now? Am I able to run? No, but like, do what I can. And that’s always been what that’s been my way of getting as well as I have gotten. It’s like, do what I can and push it and continue to push it more, and push it more. And before you know, it, you you are doing more and it works out. I actually I live on a park and I saw this really fit girl that or I should say woman saw this really fit woman and she had a baby stroller with her and she took her baby out. And she was doing bodyweight squats holding her baby. And she was very incredibly fit.

Ben 32:40
Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s also a good point that like to come back around to what you said earlier of like, okay, 90% of the time, like, get up and go and I do it. But there is that like, 10% margin, like, you know, your life is dynamic, and things change and you have is your seasons or other things that happen in your life. So it’s okay to not constantly push it, like you have to have some times of rest and recuperation and pause. And, and that’s just as important too.

Kain 33:18
It is for me. It’s funny because with epilepsy, you can’t be stressed, you can’t have you can’t be tired, you can’t miss a meal. And those all those things go against being a resident. And, like that is like the definition of a resident and, and so for me, like if I find myself in those situations, like where I am, like, I’m so tired, I need to go back to bed. I listen to my body, I go back to bed, because if I don’t my consequences, possibly a seizure. And, and so, you know, I listen to my I’ve learned to listen to my body. And that’s super important. Not even for someone just with epilepsy, but just everyone.

Ben 33:56
Absolutely. Okay. And so then the last question is one of the aims of this podcast is kind of exploring what it means to be a good physician. So can you tell me about a good physician you personally know in medicine?

Kain 34:10
Yeah, well, for me, I think a good physician is someone who is kind, you know, I like while yes, being competent is super important. You know, a lot of times you can learn being competent, you can learn how to study to learn what you need to know what you can look it up in a book and find the information that you need to do well, most of us who have gotten through medical school can do those things. But being kind is not always intuitive. And I think that that is the most important thing that a good that’s most important quality of a good physician is someone who cares and is kind to everyone is difficult with you know, the things that the task and stresses been placed on us and the amount of time that we have to do them. It’s difficult to always be kind but it’s, it should always be very important that we are

Ben 34:59
Mhmm. Yeah.

Kain 35:00
And then a physician that I think really displayed this traits was the first psychiatrist I ever shadowed, which was, before I ever went to medical school, there was one patient who was being discharged from the hospital, and it was cold outside, it was January, and this patient was homeless and had to go to a homeless shelter. And while some people would argue this is like, you know, crossing a boundary, the psychiatrist I was working with actually gave that patient the jacket that off of his back and let the patient take it. And while yes, we can’t do this for everyone, the fact that the psychiatrist did that, it just showed so much heart and compassion for humanity. And I think about that moment, often, because I don’t see that anymore. And I’m not gonna say I, I’m not gonna say that they’re not compassionate psychiatrist that I work with. Now, that’s not true. But those kinds of moments are rare.

Ben 35:55
Yeah, one follow up question. Would you have had that same answer. – you know, that being kind is kind of the most important thing – before your experience in your medical journey?

Kain 36:11
I feel like I would have, but I would not have had the kind of backbone and an experience and personal experience to be able to support it. I always like thought it was important. And I always was like, gosh, I was like, Why? Why is this not something that’s as valued as it as it should be? You know, but I would have never, like spoken up as strongly as I do. Now. I now I speak up very firmly about it. It’s not something I think is like, oh, maybe you should be I’m like, No, you should be. And here’s why.

Ben 36:44
No, absolutely. And I that I love that that’s your answer. Because when I’ve asked this question off the podcast to to like multiple people. And I think it’s so interesting that so many times, when I’ve asked that to medical professionals, if it’s not the first answer, or first reason, the second or so, is that, “Oh, well, this person is smart, or competent, or skilled,” is always in that kind of top three reasons that they admire this person. And it’s interesting, because then you go down the line, and these other virtues in a good physician of – like you’re saying – being kind and compassionate, having a certain amount of even humility, and courage are critical to forming good physicians. And those answers are consistently there. And it’s like flipped. So then when you talk to someone who has been a patient, or who’s not from kind of like a medical background, no one like ever says, they look up to a doctor because of how smart they are, at least some of the people that I’ve asked, it’s always this, like, “oh, this doctor was so kind, they took this moment to be able to, you know, really listen to me, or flexible with their plan or whatever.” It’s always about who they are as a person. And I don’t know if part of that is because it’s just assumed that all doctors should be smart. Maybe from that perspective,

Kain 38:30
It might be it might be.

Ben 38:32
Yeah, but I think there it says something, kind of what you’ve just touched on that. Maybe us as physicians, we are too obsessed with competence and skill and knowledge as the critical part to becoming a good physician.

Kain 38:53
Right. And it is important, I don’t downplay it whenever someone, like I’m like, yeah, it’s important. But at the same time, you can also really be kind, and that’s the most important, that’s the most important part of patient care is being kind because at the same time i There are a lot of times I find myself in situations, I don’t know something. And what I do is I say, I don’t know, and I get my book out, and I look it up and guess what, I find the answer, and then I’ve been we’re over that barrier, you know, and I’m, I’m transparent with my patients when I don’t know, but I will look it up. So that part of competence that might be lacking in that moment, is made up for really quickly, whereas the the kindness factor, it’s really difficult to make that up if it’s not something that’s intuitive. Yeah,

Ben 39:45
yeah. I I’m working on an episode where I’m talking a little bit about this as far as just trying to pick one virtue specifically. And I think honesty is probably the easiest agreed virtue that is important for physicians. I don’t think anyone would would argue that honesty isn’t a critical component of a good doctor, you know? Maybe some of the other stuff there. Some people would have some grumbles. But like, you, we have to have integrity one in order just to train the next generation of physicians, because if you’re not honest, then how can I trust you and taking care of this patient? Or that what you’re telling me is accurate?

Kain 40:29
Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

Ben 40:30
But breaking that down into okay, if you have someone who is honest, and as well, and smart, you know, like, very skilled and competent. And obviously, like, yeah, I would want to go to that physician. And then obviously, if someone was not as skilled, and you know, like, didn’t know anything, and was dishonest. Hopefully everyone would agree. Like, that’s definitely a physician that you would not want to treat you.

Kain 41:00
Yes, absolutely.

Ben 41:01
Right, and so, I think so many of us are in this, like, this middle section of where it’s totally gray. And there’s varying levels of skill and competence. There’s probably varying levels of honesty. And it’s like, when we’re in that kind of a moral margin, then how should we as physicians, prioritize what is important? And what would we want to prioritize? I guess, you know.

Kain 41:37
I think, I think it’s an easy shift of mindset to, you know, in residency, you’re like, Well, I’m a learner, you know, I’m a learner, I’m in residency, I’m in training, the reality is, you just shift your mindset to, you’re always going to be a learner. And there are always going to be things to learn, there’s always going to be new medications or new, you know, treatments that we have for to help people. And so if you shift your mindset to being out of just a four year, three year, however long period of time that you’re learning, you’re like, This is going to be forever, I’m always going to be finding out new treatments, or new options, or new side effects that we even find out from medications. And so we should be nice, we should always be nice. Yeah.

Ben 42:20
It’s like that is more constant, you know, like, I, I can reliably depend upon a certain set of moral knowledge like being kind or being honest. And that’s always going to be important in my role as a physician, whereas just like you’re saying, I literally did a sleep medicine fellowship for one year and then I came back to my current position where I split time between pediatrics and sleep medicine, and they’ve like, totally shifted in the asthma guidelines.


Over the course of just one year, and I was like, “What? What? You’re telling me that we are totally changing how street moderate persistent asthma now in kids?”

Kain 43:09
Yeah, yeah. It’s always up and down and changing left and right. And so the one thing we can make consistent is just being kind. And if you can focus on that, that will never change. Yeah.

Ben 43:22
Ah, so good. Again, Kain, thank you so much for coming on the show. sharing with us your story. This has really been a pleasure.

Kain 43:33
Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. And I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well after medical school. And it feels like just yesterday, but here we are. Many years later.

Ben 43:43
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Man! I love connecting with residents to hear their stories, and Kain certainly did not disappoint. And hey, if Kain’s story really resonated with you, then please share it with a medical student or resident who needs some encouragement this week. Actually, this episode is posting the week of match 2022, which can be an emotional week for anyone who maybe doesn’t match up to their top choice or has to scramble or what have you. So all that to say, for anyone who’s listening, maybe going through the match this week. Good luck for everyone else. That’s really it for this week. So until next time, Bye, everyone.


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