Have you finished your goal-setting for the new year? If not, this time of the year is the perfect to set new goals, that’ll bring you ahead. Just as in any other part of your life, you should set goals for your medical career. Here is how I set goals for the new year.
It is easier than ever to make a great career in medicine. You wanna know why? Because your competition is very busy.
Your competition is very busy
- complaining about the tough circumstances they have to work under.
- because they did not organize they’re daily work schedule well and they are wasting time.
- Find out what your boss wants and overdeliver:
Every boss has different goals, opinions and priorities. On the other hand there are things he doesn’t care about at all.Make it your top goal to find out what she thinks is really important, when it comes to treating patients. Then spend time delivering on these expectations. Here are a few examples:
- My first attending was all about blood gases. If I knew the patient’s CO2 by heart he was happy.
- Another doc’s hot topic was the patient’s dry weight. If you didn’t know their dry weight, there was nothing you could do or say to make him happy.
- Use your time wisely:
Please: don’t complain! Stop complaining right now. The toner is empty, there are too few people on your staff, and on and on we go. There are so many things going wrong. But instead of whining, use your time and energy to change the things you actually can control. Whining is for losers. Never has a chief said: That guy who is complaining all day long: I really need him on my team…hasn’t happened! Ever!
- Have the patient’s best interest in mind.
This strategy will never go out of style: Listen to the patient, have his best interest at heart and everything will take care of itself. Sooner or later your patients will tell your boss what a great doctor you are and that always is a big advantage!
Many medical students have had it easy all their lives. I don’t want to bash the millenials all too much but basically: Their parents took care of them, but that is now over. Once you arrive in the working field, expect to work harder than ever before. Volunteer for jobs nobody else want to do. Be the first guy there and the last to leave.
- Be patient. There is no overnight success. You will have to wait years until you will reap the benefits. It takes time. You have 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.
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.
If you’re hoping this blogpost ends with the resume that doctors absolutely must have the apple watch or they can’t fulfill their obligations: I have to disappoint you.
I didn’t purchase the apple watch, my wife gave it to me as a gift when I finished my residency training. I was really thrilled even though I didn’t have clear expectations regarding the service this gadget would provide for me during the day-to-day work…
But there are a couple of features that are quite nice:
Whenever I want to improve the quality of my work, my first urge is doing more:
- Read more journals!
- Attend more conference!
- Write more case reports!
If you really want to improve in your field, you have to the opposite. Doing less is often more. So stop doing the wrong things, so you can focus on the important tasks.
You need a stop-doing-list: So what should be on it?
1. Stop regurgitating information.
Sometimes I have the feeling we are talking 80% of the time about what we are planning to do and why, instead of just doing it.
Does it really make sense to discuss a patient with the colleague from the previous shift, with your boss, another consulting doctor and the radiologist? Remember, nothing gets done by talking.
2. Stop talking:
Easy on the smalltalk: I know, I know, keep the atmosphere nice, having a chat with the patients and the nurses is important. But I only use it as a time-filler, when I have to spend time with the patient. (during procedures etc). But besides that, I focus on the job.
3. Stop over-documenting:
Document only relevant things. The little amount of time left over after talking about our patients and what we are going to do with them is easily consumed by our legal obligation to document.
This was well meant, but as Tucholsky said: well meant is the opposite of well-done. So keep it focused, short and simple.
4. Stop letting others interrupt you:
Easier said than done. Of course you have to answer the phone. But many times I’ll ask: „What’s up, this an emergency? I’m in the middle of something”
At least the caller gets to the point right away. Many times they don’t call me again. Also, keep your door closed. Leaving your door open is like begging to be interrupted.
5. Stop confusing „chaos” with pseudo-emergencies (which will again cause interruptions):
Better organization, preparation and pro-active thinking would have prevented most of them:
- Patient goes to angiogram and has no IV-Line.
- Patient about to get a pacemaker but written informed consent is missing.
By the way, I’m not opposed to working hard and much. We just have to spend our time with things that are useful and avoid ineffective working habits.