I get many emails from other parts of the world asking for advice on how to start a medical career in Germany. What is one thing I can do to maximize my chances? I always answer this:
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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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.
Having a good connection to your patient has a positive impact on your work in several different ways:
Connecting to a patient on a personal level helps you..
- to keep in mind that you are dealing with people, not with body parts or diagnoses.
- to remember other important information about him. (Your brain makes a connection)
- to have a lot more fun at work.
A couple of weeks ago I was on call in the ICU and I was called by a 2nd year resident. “Mr. Miller isn’t well and has desaturated repeatedly.”
How was I supposed to reply?
“Thank you for the information, good night.”
Obviously, the way this piece information was presented neither helped me, the patient or the poor guy on the other side of the phone.
When you wake up your boss during the middle of the night, you should be a little more prepared than someone, who calls 911.
So what can you do to make your boss happy at 3 AM in the morning. Let’s try these six steps:
Every other year, depending on my scientific efforts, I get to go to a conference abroad. Going to a conference is kinda like going to Disneyland: Countless things to do, but only very little time.
The opportunities there are overwhelming. There are
- numerous great presentations
- interesting topics
- amazing researchers
- great speakers you can get to know.Time is very sparse and it’s easy to lose focus. Many times I felt depressed because I felt I missed out on so many great things. To avoid this feeling, here are my 6 steps to getting the most out of your next conference.
Some people think that the only way to survive on an ICU as a doctor is lots and lots of sarcasm. I used to be sarcastic, because I thought it was funny. Turns out: it’s not. Here is a self talk I give myself, whenever I have an acute sarcasm-relapse: