What keeps us going in medicine?

In the day-to-day hubbub and stresses of modern medical practice, it is easy to get overwhelmed; patients are complicated, EHR systems are unwieldy, complicated and distracting, and everyone on the care team is being asked to perform at an increasingly high level with economic limitations, time constraints and performance expectations. Many days I come from work feeling overwhelmed…this isn’t always the primary care medical practice that I envisioned for 20+ years ago.  My colleagues all over the country share the same frustrations with these issues, and it is easy to get discouraged.

So what can we do to keep moving forward in our clinical careers, maintain sanity and complete our necessary workflow in a timely manner, while being fulfilled?  A few thoughts:

  1. Put the computer to the side–maintain eye contact with your patient, engage in active listening to their clinical history.
  2. Enjoy the simple beauty of compassionate human interaction, be present in the moment with your patient as much as possible.
  3. Take time for yourself to enjoy an activity you are truly passionate about–exercise, music, yard work, the possibilities are endless!
  4. Watch for signs and symptoms of burnout, and take appropriate steps to rest and recharge–your patients need you at your best!
  5. Support your fellow doctors, nurses, medical assistants, support staff and co-workers when times are tough–they will appreciate it and hopefully they will do the same for you when the chips are down.

What techniques do you employ to keep your days in medical practice manageable and rewarding?  Please feel free to comment below.

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