Fam Pract Manag. 2019 Nov-Dec;26(6):31.


After seeing so many cold, lifeless exam rooms, I was inspired many years ago to decorate my exam rooms with different “themes.” Here are some of my current and past themes:

  • Kid's room: When obstetrics was part of my practice, I decorated a room with bright colors and kids' decor, including cardboard gingerbread people hung near the ceiling. Each had the name of a child I had delivered.

  • Pheasant room: I am an avid pheasant hunter, so I decorated this room with beautiful prints of pheasants and other related items.

  • Airplane room: I am a commercial-rated pilot and do a lot of flying. This room has photographs of some of the planes I have flown, models of some of my favorite planes, and a huge aviation map with small pins marking spots around the country where I have landed.

  • Dog room: I train bird dogs, so in this room I have sketches of these dogs, some puppy photos, a few dog-related signs, and a bulletin board where patients can add photos of their own dogs.

  • Alaska room: I went on a cruise to Alaska and do quite a bit of nature photography, so I post those pictures here.

I also line the hallways with photos of my family, including my five children. These photos and the theme rooms themselves often spark great conversations that provide opportunities to better connect with patients.


Physicians may resist coaching if they feel these efforts are patronizing, manipulative, or interfere with their sense of professional autonomy. Here are three ways to more effectively “nudge” physician colleagues or those you supervise toward change:

  • Transparency. Don't hide your purpose. Explain that you are not seeking to subvert the physician's professional purpose or medical evidence but rather to reduce unwarranted variations in care that occur despite these


Practice Pearls presents readers' advice on practice operations and patient care, along with tips drawn from the literature. Send us your best pearl (250 words of less), and you'll earn $50 if we publish it. We also welcome questions for our Q&A section. Send pearls, questions, and comments to, or add your comments below.


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