Physicians are by nature compassionate people. But sometimes life can get in the way of the ability to consistently exhibit care, candor, and concern. A squabble with a neighbor can present as short-temperedness with a colleague just as easily as a poor diet can lead to brain fog and subsequent frustration with a patient. Not only that, but the pressures of a busy practice can be brought home, contaminating the atmosphere of a practitioner’s personal life.
It takes effort to establish and maintain balance between the myriad avenues we walk in life. And while one area, such as work, can be mentally demanding, another area, like staying in shape or raising a family, can be physically taxing to the same degree.
Every component of day-to-day life is interrelated, which is why it’s essential to pay equal attention to your personal, professional, and public priorities. Here are six categories of care that will ultimately enhance the treatment you provide to your patients.
1. Care for yourself
Your personal wellness impacts your patients’ treatment and your staff members’ productivity. If you’re emotionally spent, physically sick, or psychologically stressed, your patients and colleagues will probably suffer some kind of consequence. Though the effects may be subtle, like having them feeling rushed or unheard, your attitude can infect their experience.
The first order of business is to manage your physical and mental health. Make sensible dietary choices, schedule time for pleasure and exercise, and unwind every day through meditation, reading, music, or a hobby. Patients and staff see you as a role model, which is why it’s vital for you to demonstrate healthy habits.
2. Care for family and friends
The people you surround yourself with need you to be present and pleasant. Even though your hours may be long and unpredictable, choose to participate fully when you’re in the company of those who matter most.
Sadly, the busier we are the more likely it is that our family and friends take a back seat. Your loved ones need your support and care as much as you need theirs. Do what you must to carve out time to honor and enrich your personal relationships.
3. Care for your community
Doctors are commonly viewed as pillars of the community. As I noted in this article, you have influence and you’re being watched. Given that neighbors, shopkeepers, and casual acquaintances tend to look up to you, it’s important to be mindful of your behavior in public. Take the lead by accepting your position with pride and representing your role in the community with responsibility and respect.
Another observation tower is social media. We all know that online privacy is a thing of the past. To loosely quote law enforcement, anything you post can — and very possibly will — be used against you. Caution is advised.
4. Care for your staff
Everyone who works in your practice, from your booking clerk to your physician assistant, benefits from your care and attention. They are, after all, the people who keep you organized and able to cope. Ensuring job satisfaction for them guarantees a healthy practice for you.
It’s up to you to establish the tone of your workplace. When cultivating the character of your practice, start with a foundation consisting of these four elements: inclusivity, positivity, efficiency, and civility. Have open, multilateral lines of communication and be fair when offering feedback to your staff. If you want to see real change, start sharing three sincere compliments per day and watch the attitude among your colleagues shift.
5. Care for your workplace
The environment you work in plays a huge role in your career contentment. If worn-out furniture, outdated equipment, peeling paint, and close quarters surround you, consider modernizing the office. A few simple décor updates can make all the difference in how everyone feels when they enter the space.
If you’ve outgrown your current office, either physically or mentally, it may be time for a change. Sometimes moving on is the only way to answer your soul’s call for calm over the chaos you may be experiencing at your present place of work. Pay attention to your yearnings.
6. Care for your patients
Now that you, your people, and your atmosphere have been attended to, you’re in the perfect position to offer the best treatment for your patients. Not only are you better able to provide your full attention, but having your core needs and responsibilities managed means you’re much better able to help manage theirs.
Regular patients will notice even the smallest improvements in attitude and design. And when you take the time to focus on self-care, patients new and old are sure to realize they’re in good hands.
Never underestimate the value of tending to your own care first. When you do, your family, friends, colleagues, and patients will thank you for it.
Sue Jacques is a professionalism expert, keynote speaker, consultant, and author who specializes in medical and corporate civility. A former forensic death investigator, Sue now helps people and practices prosper through professionalism. www.SueJacques.com Social: @TheSueJacques