Five Habits Great Doctors Practice Every Day

If we can believe the movies and the TV shows the great doctors are always right.

  • don’t make mistakes
  • always have the right diagnosis at hand and
  • always know what to do.
This description could not be further from the truth. It’s a fairy tale.
Instead, the great ones that I have worked with practice these five habits daily:

Get Your Attending Fired Up – So You Can Finally Learn From Him, Big Time.

Here is what I do most of the day:

1. Aquire data. (history, examination, discuss patient with nurses, ultrasound, laboratory values and so on).
2. Discuss the data with the boss.
3. Do what the boss and I agreed on in step 2. (Do more examination, initiate treatment, stop treatment, get other consults and so on.)

So far so good. I have written many posts about my part of this. How I screwed up and what I learned from it.

Now this post is about the attending. Here is how you know whether you have good attending working with you here. Possibly surprisingly to many, whether you have a good or bad attending becomes evident in step 2, not in step 3 when he gives you his magical treatment regimen.
A good attending will do the following during step 2:

5-Step-Strategy To Overcoming Your Fear Of Working As a Doctor

We have an intern on our ICU, who will be a physician in a few months. She asked me what can I do to lose my fear?  “Fear of what?” I asked.

Courtesy of

“Fear of having my first day at work. Here during my internship I follow you around, I watch, sometimes I put in needles. But having the responsibility for all these patients? The whole unit? That is totally different from what I do here during my internship. So what can I do to prepare better for “day one”?” She replied.  Here is my 5 step strategy:

Keep Your Energy Levels At Max – And Boost Your Career!

Few fields demand such a high degree of energy, concentration and emotional stability in order to do a great job, as medicine.


Listening attentively, suturing a vessel, implanting a catheter- those are all tasks that require energy, focus and concentration.

Whether you do a good job in your internship will greatly depend on what you do off the job. Coming to work physically fit and mentally strong will definitely boost your career.

In this job you need to keep your batteries charged. Here are three steps to high energy levels.

The importance of being honest – 4 ways to improve your patient’s satisfaction ratings

Whether our patients are content with our work greatly depends on their expectation prior to the treatment.
While we should always do our best to deliver high quality work, modulating -and many times lowering- their expectations can further maximize your patient’s satisfaction ratings. Here are 4 ways how you can do that.

Here Are 7 Steps To Telling Your Colleague About His Error – Without Becoming His Enemy

“Hey Daniel, greetings from Jack [our attending, name changed]: Don’t ever put in a pneumocath in a patient’s chest again, your patient suffered a pneumothorax”.

That’s how I was greeted to my late shift after I had put a chest tube in a patient the day before, which obviously hadn’t work out as we had hoped.

As it turned out, the patient had a pneumothorax before I even saw him. But either way, I wasn’t all that happy about this kind of feedback in front of all my colleagues. Obviously someone was happy I had caused a complication.

10 Reasons Why Now Is the Best Time to Be a Doctor. Ever.

I’m convinced that there has never been a better time in history to be a doctor. However, many doctors use a great part of their time to complain how hard life is as a doctor. They talk about the good old days, when everything was better and easier.

Photo courtesy of

So I put together my top ten of reasons, why this is the best time to be a doctor. Ever. Consider this post an antidepressant for doctors and feel free to share it. 

Four steps to dealing with criticism so YOU profit from it

Every time you end your shift, you’ll be criticised. Your colleagues and bosses try to understand why you did what you did.

That’s why they will question why you

  • initiated this diagnostic procedure
  • started that therapeutic regimen
  • established this diagnosis
  • or didn’t do all of the above.

That’s OK: Three doctors, four opinions. However, many doctors take that form of criticism personal and react defensive. Here are my four steps to handling criticism, so you profit from it: