Time is a precious resource. It is the most valuable resource we have, because as opposed to money and energy it can not be won back. Once it is lost, time is gone forever. So especially in the hospital I am quite intentional on how I spend my time.
I have been working at the Charité University Medicine Berlin since 2008. Me and many of my colleagues are very content with working here, but every now and then you hear cynical voices about how bad, slow and misorganized things supposedly are.
As I have written before, I think that this discontent should always trigger some kind of constructive action. You always have a choice:
- change things to the better or ultimately, if you just can’t stand it anymore:
- you can look for another organization that may fit your needs better.
However, how do you protect yourself from cynicism and depression when people around you are whining?
Gratitude is always a great move. I like to point out the good things of life. For that matter I created a list of things I like or even love about working here. Here is my Top-15-List of things I like about the Charité:
- I am trained here by amazing physicians.
- They pay me money. Fair and on time.
- Fast internet at every workstation and coming up:
- Reliable WiFi on most wards.
- Uncountable numbers of experts for every topic: I call them and they will help me and the patient.
- Experienced nurses.
- Access to Uptodate at many departments.
- All patients are treated equally: regardless of country of origin, race or language they speak.
- Equipment that works.
- If equipment doesn’t work (and the responsible department is informed!): things are fixed.
- We come in contact with a wide variety of diseases and conditions.
- We now have a Kebap cart on our campus 🙂
- Social prestige: Many people are impressed, when you tell them you work here.
- Opportunities to do research.
- The campuses are beautiful.
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Every day I come across several problems that I am not responsible for:
- Personal computer in the doctor’s room is slow.
- Printer is out of toner.
- Biopsy gun is broken.
- Two out of three elevators don’t seem to work.
- The only closet in the physician’s office is filled with old patient files.
All of these common problems not only cause delay in our workflow but lead to great frustration in your team. By choosing your reaction to all of these issues you make a great decision between ongoing frustration and improving the quality of your work.
Mobile phones for doctors have changed the clinical routine tremendously. The pager is gone and everybody can be reached whenever he is at work. Is this a progress? I am not sure.
Turns out that the threshold to contact doctors in semi-important issues is close to an all-time-low while the number of calls and hence interruptions is close to a peak.
On my first day in the OR during an internship in NY a physician’s assistant briefed me: “You know, the surgeon we are going to spend the next 6-7 hours with yells. A lot.
Keep in mind he is not yelling at you. He is just yelling…“ As it turned out he was right and the advice he gave me was valuable.
Basically, there are two strategies of spending your day on the ward:
- Go with the flow and look what’s coming up.
- I have a well-structured plan. When unexpected things come up, I modify my plan.
I am a big fan of strategy number 2. Over the years I have learned that structuring your day gives enormous value to the patient, the nurses and myself. With the right plan, you can get more things done and don’t have to put out fires all day long. Here is my plan:
In this post I would like to share with you how you can plan your day proactively and an ideal schedule of your own. I have created an excel template, that you can download for free here.
So here is how to create a schedule for yourself and the day on the ward.
Never has it been this easy to train your clinical skills on the subway, on the bus or on the toilet. All you need is a smartphone and this app.
How? Have a look at this Videoblogpost.
I don’t know about you, but I have a big problem listening to patients. I mean real listening.
Our daily workload increases all the time, our days become more and more procedure- and action-focused.
Over the years I’ve gotten more and more effective in getting things done. I am totally focused on my stuffed to-do-list and listening closely to a patient rarely is on it.
Rarely do I ask an open-ended question and just wait for the patient to talk for a little while. Usually I just ask for complaints, 1-2 minutes of closed-ended questions and I am off to the next task.