It's important to mediate clashes between members of your health care team.
Two attending physicians – one a millennial, the other older - want different things for their patient. The former wants to discharge. The latter wants to admit.
The younger MD asks why. The older one says: “I told you we’re going to admit because [she restates her reason].”
The younger MD feels snubbed. You’ve seen similar situations before, and discharge was appropriate. This other MD disrespects because you’re younger. You really don't like being ignored. You’re tired of this. You say:
“I think a discharge is reasonable from my experience. I’d like to tell you what I’m thinking.”
But the other MD is already out the door going to her next patient…
She stops to chat with a colleague in the hallway and says, “What’s wrong with [that millenial MD]?! I asked him to discharge the patient. He argues and complains right in front of the patient!”
The two MDs are frosty when they next meet.
What would you like to happen here?
Create a future for the relationship
1. Arrange a conversation later with the older MD.
2. Focus on enlarging your common interests – especially valuable in common situations.
3. Forward focus
You turn discord into dialog.
What does this do for you and your colleague?
1. You’re listening. You show respect. You’re discussing.
2. Managing your own emotions and listening to the other’s perspective reduce friction.
3. Future focusing powerfully shifts you to your common intentions without criticizing or blaming.
4. You bring your voice in. This tests your psychological safety in this relationship. This is easier to try privately, away from the situation. Without determining your relative safety, the older MD’s behavior may silence you. Because that’s how the medical culture works. That’s bad for patient care. And for you.
5. Improving the comfort of this relationship increases the chances you’ll find a productive place for yourself in the practice. The quality of clinical relationships is the top predictor for clinicians leaving.
Being ignored or excluded because of stereotypes is corrosive. This kind of discomfort makes people want to leave. If you’ve experienced this, what did you do? What would have helped you resolve it well? I’d like to know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nance Goldstein, MDc, ACC, PhD, partners with physicians as a leadership coach to find ways through today’s tough times and enjoy medicine more.