Inspiration Leadership Community
How to Write for Primary Care Progress Notes

What is Progress Notes?

Progress Notes is PCP’s twice-weekly, guest-written blog. It is a place to find positive, inspiring stories about primary care that we may not get to hear anywhere else. And it is a unique way to publish your ideas in a nationwide forum for the primary care community. Progress Notes is the most visited page on our website. Each post is shared on our homepage and in our newsletter as well as with our followers on Facebook and Twitter, and posts are frequently picked up by other blogs or newsletters, such as KevinMD and Medical Education Futures.

Who can write for Progress Notes?

Anyone who holds a stake in the future of primary care – and that’s all of us! We’ve published posts from patients, clinicians, students, health care professionals, trainees, policy experts, public health professionals, primary care leaders and advocates and many others.
What should I write about?

We want to hear any story that will inspire those who practice or plan to practice primary care: stories that motivate us or call us to action, and those that encourage us to keep fighting the good fight. The sky is the limit, but here are a few topics we love:

Stories of self: Share your personal story about how you were called to primary care, why you stay with it despite the challenges or why it’s so important to you. Here are some examples:
  Clinical innovation and practice redesign: Share your experience implementing a clinical innovation, or practicing or learning in an innovative model or setting. We want to hear about innovations such as scribing, EHR implementation, using Google docs to manage patient visits, new means of informing patients of lab results, large scale practice redesign such as new payment models, or innovative delivery models such as the patient-centered medical home or non-physician-led models. Make the case that innovation is happening in primary care. Are outcomes better for patients? Does this innovation restore your joy in practice or your hope in a future for primary care? Does it addresses shortages or improve access? Will it show others that a career in primary care is an exciting and viable option? Here are some examples: 
  Training innovation: Are you learning or teaching in an innovative model? Perhaps you are learning alongside students of other health care professions in the same way you will one day practice? Or maybe you are meeting patients from day one of medical school in order to cultivate longitudinal relationships? Share your experience learning in innovative models that expose students to the joys of primary care and the models of the future. Here are some examples: 
  Innovation beyond the clinic: Share your story about receiving, delivering or designing innovative care for a non-clinical setting. We want to hear about apps for managing chronic disease that provide peer support through social media. Show us primary care outside of the box! Here are some examples:
  Non-physician primary care providers: Are you a non-physician primary care provider or a student in a non-MD/DO discipline? Help give your profession a voice. Share a story that illustrates your important role in the health care system, on a team or as a non-physician leader of a practice. Here are some examples:
  Beyond reimbursement reform: Is salary the only thing preventing students from choosing primary care and causing clinicians to leave it? We want to hear additional perspectives on what changes could be made to rebuild our primary care workforce. Is it lack of exposure to inspiring mentors and attractive models of care in medical school? Could med school admissions criteria do a better job of identifying applicants with a passion for primary care? Here are some examples:
  Your primary care inspiration: Tell us about your primary care inspiration - someone you admire, who did something that inspired you. Perhaps it was your childhood family doc, a health care provider you shadowed or who cared for a family member, a mentor or senior student while you were in training. They did something that inspired you, and now that story can inspire us.

Here's an example: The specialist over all specialists - by Haley Adams

Patient perspectives: Are you a patient that’s had a great experience or a terrible one with primary care? Or perhaps you had a bad experience due to lack of primary care. Could your story illustrate what needs to change in primary care? Could it paint a picture of what more primary care providers should be doing? Share it with us. Here are some examples:
  Op/Eds: Maybe you want to respond to negative messages about primary care you’ve heard in the media or on your campus. Maybe you want to dispel a myth. What have you observed about the culture of primary care in your school, hospital or community? If you’re a student, have you been encouraged or discouraged to pursue this field? What factors influence primary care’s image at a local or national level? Here are some examples:
  Chapter activities and primary care promotion: Are you a member of a PCP chapter? Tell us about your successful or inspiring event. Have you been involved in some other campus or community activities to promote primary care or curricular change? We want to hear your story about it! Here are some examples: 
   Leadership: At PCP, we believe that the next generation of primary care providers needs leadership training to prepare them to lead primary care transformation. Have you participated in or led effective leadership training for primary care providers or trainees? Do you have a perspective you’d like to share about the need to integrate leadership training into health professions training? Here are some examples: 
  How do I start?

Progress Notes posts are short, informal 500-750-word pieces written in first-person, conversational tone. Paint us a picture with colorful anecdotes and vivid details. Tell us a story!
Posts are usually narrative in nature. They typically start with a story or anecdote that goes on to illustrate a larger point, like this:
I strolled into our noon-daily resident conference, a little late, my free burrito in hand and noticed that “cost awareness” was the topic. The conference seemed to have the same format as our other lectures: an attending was presenting a clinical case and asking us what steps we could take to best diagnose and manage the patient. The case seemed straightforward enough - a 65-year-old healthy caucasian gentleman with right-sided chest pain - and the attending asked us what we would do next? Low-risk, I thought to myself, and joined the room in shouting out “EKG!” But the next question was met with awkward silence. How much did that EKG cost?
These are the first lines of the piece, in which we are immediately drawn into a scene; a picture is painted for us. The piece goes on to describe an innovative training program in which residents learn not just how to treat patients, but how much that treatment costs. This scene is a great way to open the piece because it illustrates that many health care providers have no idea the cost of the treatments they prescribe.
Posts should be focused on one specific topic or anecdote. If you have several ideas, we welcome additional submissions from contributors.
How do I submit my entry?

Email Progress Notes Editor Sonya Collins with your submission attached in Word.

What happens next?

If we are able to use your entry, we will get back to you within a few days with comments and edits. You will be able to review the final version before it is posted. We will also ask you to provide a brief, 1-2 sentence bio and a photograph. If we are not able to use your entry, we will let you know within the same time period.

Thanks for your interest in Progress Notes. We look forward to reading your story!

Sonya Collins

Most Recent Comments

Just to catch up folks on what is happening in the latest Match (Friday, March 17, 2017) with the Duluth program which has been a Family Medicine leader for decades. Sixty students who began their careers on the Duluth campus matched into their residencies! The day was filled with a great deal of joy, laughter, calls to loved ones, and eager anticipation fo...
You are doing really a nice job guys. Health is the most important segment of our life without it everything has no meaning. The usage of medication ought to depend on an all-inclusive psychiatric evaluation and be one part of an extensive treatment program. It's a medical emergency and immediate expert assistance is crucial! The usage of drugs and surgi...
Dear Penny, You give us another wake-up call. Boundaries can get loose and good habits can get worn down in the nursing home. As you say, the way that things get paid for affects the doctor-patient relationship. In my HMO, there are financial incentives to keep our patients at home. And some of our patients who need long-term care but still value the sociali...
It is a great article to know what patients want. Each medical professional must read this to know more about patients and keep them happy.
This looks intresting one and thanks for sharing. Any decision patient only input ant output important.