Tag Archives: doctors expectations

Are you a Doctor who needs CPR?

Are you a Doctor who needs CPR?(Confidential Personal Readjustment)

Life as a doctor can be very stressful. Sometimes both you and others may wonder how you keep going with so much to do and so little time to do it. How many of the following challenge you?

  • lack of work-life balance
  • keeping up to date
  • excessive demands on your time
  • insufficient funding to get the work done
  • unreasonable demands made of you
  • paperwork
  • clutter
  • complaints
  • change
  • political pressure
  • un-read journals
  • emails
  • too little time with family or friends
  • unable to ‘switch off’ when on holiday
  • taking work home
  • lack of self-care

If any or all of the above resonate with you then you are not alone.

  •  Doctors who have too much to do in too little time – organise your time more effectively
  • Doctors who worry about whether they have made the correct diagnosis and prescribed the right treatment – let go of the need for perfection.
  • Doctors who wonder if they made the right career choice – step back and consider all of your options.
  • Doctors who don’t feel valued as no-one seems to care for them – start to care more about yourself  others value you more.
  • Doctors who don’t look after their own needs – define what these are and make time to address them each week.
  • Doctors who self-medicate or turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the day-to-day stress – recognise when you need support and ask for it.
Who heals the healers?
Who heals the healers?

If you are demoralised, overwhelmed, tired, stressed, undervalued and wonder if this is the way life as a doctor has to be, and wonder how you might be able to change things for the better, read on, Consider what you could do now to start to have the life you really want, before it all gets too much. It IS possible to have a life and be a doctor. A recent client wrote: Susan helped me look for the inside me. The person who wonders and enjoys rather than the one who is worried and stressed. She taught me about the journey of life, of taking control over my own journey, and recognising the choices that are there. It was most helpful that she had worked as a doctor, because she understood how ingrained we are. When I signed on for life coaching I was ready to take the enormous step of giving up my job as a GP. That is what I wanted to do but didn’t know how it could be possible. Susan helped me realise that this was just the first step of an exciting journey. I cannot know where it will take me, but I am now looking forward to it! Susan’s warm and straightforward approach was just what I needed from a life coach. She manages to balance professionalism with humour and good sense. She has masses of insight and is refreshingly optimistic. I wonder if my life would have turned out differently if I had found out about Susan and her telephone coaching sooner. FR General Practitioner What can YOU do? If you want tools, ways to change, and questions to make you think, you will find the following resources useful.

  1. Read my books: https://www.thedoctorscoach.co.uk/books
  2. Sign up for a Prescription for Change Discovery Session

 

Burnout: prevent it developing for you ….

What do you do when you can’t go on any longer, when even the thought of seeing another patient almost paralyses you?

doctor with headacheIf that has ever happened to you then you no longer have a choice: you know you have to get away, out of the work environment, away from patients and managers, away from all the demands made of your body, mind and spirit and take some time out, to rest and recuperate.

Don’t wait until you can no longer cope – it is vital to schedule time for you. As a doctor you may be particularly blind to the fact that you are vulnerable just like anyone else who is experiencing  stress and overwhelm and inadequate support.

Be clear about boundaries and stop full blown burnout from developing : that means saying  ‘no’ to excessive demands; saying ‘yes’ to taking adequate rest time for food and exercise during the working day; getting outside for a few minutes and taking some deep breaths as you concentrate on your breathing and getting rid of tension in your body.

Say ‘yes’ to having a more balanced life as it’s the only one you’ve got and there are ways to be a doctor and have a life.

What do you do to prevent burnout? Please add your comments.

 

 

Mistakes Doctors Make that keep them……

There are three massive mistakes that doctors make that keep them feeling tired, stressed and frustrated.

Who heals the healers?
Who heals the healers?

Many doctors believe that overwork is part of being a doctor. They complain of  a constant feeling of pressure and of frustration of not getting things done. not having enough time to do the things they really want to do. They neglect their lives outside of work because Medicine takes over their lives.   The three mistakes the make are:

3. Neglecting your  own health and well-being. This   means looking after your body, mind and spirit so you can be happy and  fulfilled. You can do this  by eating healthily, taking regular exercise and connecting with spirituality, by connecting with nature, meditation, or in formal religious  practice.

Connect with Nature and feel refreshed
Connect with Nature and feel refreshed

You cannot  expect to be fit and well while eating junk food, never taking exercise, taking  excessive alcohol and smoking and never taking time to watch a beautiful sunset or waves crashing on the shore.

Connecting with nature
Connecting with nature

This is important because when you are look after yourself you can better look after your patients.  When you don’t care about yourself how can you give the best care to your patients? You could start by taking a walk each day; eating regular meals and avoiding unhealthy food and doing something outside to  connect with nature.

2. Not finding the time to keep in contact with friends and family Relationships with people outside of your work environment are important because throughout your life there is a bond between family and friends that is very different from that between you and patients or colleagues at work. Usually friends and family are there for you, whatever the ‘ups and downs’ in your professional life, so don’t neglect these relationships. Even if separated by distance you can do this by meeting regularly or speaking on the telephone or via the internet.

1. Not taking ‘time out’ for rest, relaxation and re-charging your personal batteries. Even doctors are not mechanical machines and you need time doing something else apart from work.  When you do this you return to work feeling refreshed and enthusiastic once again. Taking ‘time out’ means rest or recreation away from your work.  This can be achieved in various ways: You could:

  • Take a few minutes between patients to close your eyes, concentrating on slow breathing in and out . You may want to think about breathing in relaxation and breathing out tension as you do this, or simply count slowly as you breathe in and out.
  • Get away from your clinic, ward or office for at least twenty minutes for a break during the day. Take the opportunity to take a walk outside especially if you can walk by a river or in a park. At the very least take a walk around the block.
  • Make a regular commitment to see a film each week or go to a concert or theatre : on your own can be as refreshing as with company.
  • Have  a  few days  away, for a complete change of scene and a chance to really get away from it all.
  • Take several months away from work  as a ‘sabbatical’

This article written by Susan Kersley, first appeared on http://doc2doc.bmj.com/

Let me know what you think on the form below:

 

Doctor, running around ragged?

I remember what that feeling of overwhelm was like when there wasn’t time to finish one task before more and more were demanded: from ‘Doctor, this won’t take a minute, can you just take a look at so and so’ to ‘You haven’t dictated all the letters yet,’ or ‘I put a couple of extras onto your clinic list for today, I knew you wouldn’t mind.’

How do you describe that feeling of ‘running round ragged’?  Please click ‘leave a comment’ at the top of this post and tell me.

Compassion fatigue in doctors?

Who heals the healers?
Who heals the healers?

I have a colleague who is writing a self-help book on burnout. She would be very interested in talking to any doctors or nurses who have experienced burnout or traumatic stress. If you, or anyone you know would be happy to share your experience, please email Sarah Kuipers on skuipers1@gmail.com and she will contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time to call you.

 

 

:
‘The patient’s treatment begins with the doctor, so to speak. Only if the doctor knows how to cope with himself and his own problems will he be able to teach the patient to do the same.’  (C. G. Jung in Memories Dreams and Reflections)

Who do you turn to when you begin to wonder how you’ll get through the next few years? Do you believe  seeking help and support will be seen as a sign of weakness? Do you make it impossible or very difficult for people to connect with you? Can you make connections? Do you feel  vulnerable? Are you  frightened about seeking assistance for yourself? Do you believe you have to cope on your own? Do you have to know all the answers? Do you hate to admit  that you don’t know? Do  you consider that others will think less of you if you admit ignorance?

Do you put obstacles  between you and other people? Do you put up barriers to communication? Is it easy to enable a patient to tell you their most intimate thoughts and feelings but difficult for you to do the same to your Do you dread the phone ringing because you don’t want to speak to a patient? Are you going to wait until you are at crisis point? Who can support you now? Who can be there for you and accept who you are?

Is now is the moment to  make changes to improve the quality of your life so that  you can have time for family as well as patients, more time for your friends as well as your colleagues. You could have more time to  enjoy being away from work doing things you  haven’t done for years, such as going for a walk, a cycle ride, reading a book, painting, writing,  any other  almost forgotten hobby, whatever you’ve been saying to yourself ‘One day I’ll have time for such and such’ Now is the time to get more balance between your  medical work and the rest of your life, the part of you that may have been submerged for years.

Don’t wait until you’re ‘burnt out’. Re-discover who you are. Start to make small changes right now. Be clear about what you have to do against what you ‘should ‘do. Do what  you love to do. Teach others your skills so that you can   delegate more to them to do some or all of the boring things you are doing now.

Do you think that you are indispensable and no-one else can do what you do? Suppose you are unable to do your work for some reason or another, what then? Someone else will take over. They may not do it the same way you do. They may not even do it as efficiently as you did. But they will do it their way and hopefully it will get done.

It’s OK to  be ‘selfish.’ The word ‘selfish’ may have bad connotations. Start to look after yourself, physically and emotionally. Think about it meaning ‘self-care’ If you take more care of yourself and your own needs you will cope  more effortlessly with the needs of your patients. Don’t wait until you have to find solace in drink or drugs. Don’t wait until you reach crisis point. Start now. Find someone who will encourage and support you unconditionally. Someone who won’t have any expectations of you but will encourage you to achieve whatever you want.

Who can you talk to about your frustrations and difficulties of overwork as a doctor in an environment of being undervalued and endless demands? Do you have a mentor who understands?

When you experience the power of support and encouragement rather than demands and intimidation you will be able to coach your patients to do whatever they need to do, rather than reaching for the prescription pad again to write up yet more tablets destined to be put in the back of the bathroom cabinet with the others. When someone listens to your concerns and acknowledges them as legitimate, you will become a better listener to your patients and hear more of their underlying issues and so be able to give them the help they need. You will be able to convey to them that they can make a difference to their own lives when they take responsibility for it.

Every small change you as an individual make will eventually help to change the system. Take courage, start to care for yourself , much more. What will you do differently today?

“We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support. Strength needs it far more.”
-Madame Swetchine,

PS if you want to care for yourself  treat yourself to a few days away in April 2014 at Connect and Change (but hurry only limited places remain!)

 

 

 

Work Life ‘Balance’ Isn’t the answer

shutterstock_36977740Many doctors tell me that they want to have better work life balance, but they struggle to find a way to achieve it.

Working as a doctor can have it’s ups and downs. There ail be many days when you feel excited and exhilarated  yet others when you are exhausted and overwhelmed. Both of these states can affect your life and relationships outside of Medicine.

Yet if you don’t improve the balance in your life you may become more and more stressed and both your work and your personal life will suffer.

How do some doctors cope?

1. They realise that work and life outside work is a matter of finding ways to be effective in both though not necessarily in relation to time actually spent in each role. Stop trying to keep all aspects of your life in separate compartments. Sometimes your best ideas might come to you while playing with your children or engaging in sport.

2. Define for yourself what you want in your life and realise that your definition of success may be different from others. Decide to follow your own path in being successful in your various roles.

3. Set your own boundaries in relation to what you will or won’t do in all aspects of your life.When you do this you will be able to define what are your personal priorities  so that you designate time for friends and family and for your own self-care of body mind and spirit.

It’s your life: live it on your terms!

Coaching helps to get this sorted! 

Fed up? Want the system to change?

As a doctor who is  fed up with the system but as someone who hopes your life will change on its own, remember that the power is in your own hands to make the changes you really want.

If you believe that stress and overwork must always be part of working as a doctor and that those can’t change unless someone else does something or the system itself changes, then think again.

When you do things differently then other things around you change too and eventually the system itself will change as your lifestyle as a doctor changes too.

So, the best way to initiate change is for you to do something. Until you do something another way, your life will continue as before.

You have to take action, step out of your comfort zone, for your life experience to change. When you begin to do this, then others will react to what you do differently, because when you change, others change in their response to you.

Just like a spreadsheet, when one thing changes then everything else changes too. Without action on your part, your life will continue in the way it always has.

When you apply the simple strategies to your life you can live the life you truly want. So don’t delay any more. Start today to create the life you truly want: you can  have a more balanced life.

You can do it.

Coaching can enable you to succeed.

Call me!

Coaching doctors for support and motivation

Part of looking after yourself is about finding the right person to support you through some difficult decisions. 

A huge leap out of your comfort zone is making the first contact with a coach: it may seem as though you are  admitting not being able to find the way forward yourself.

Not at all: contacting a coach is about recognising what you need at this time and also deciding it’s time to  do the things you’ve been dithering about for so long.

Perhaps you’ve procrastinated because you want to be sure it will be the right  decision.  Can we ever know what is the right decision? Unless you have a go at the things you really want to do, how can you ever know whether its will be right or wrong for you? Go for it!! It’s important to do something and then if need be change direction as needed.

The value of working with a coach is unquantifiable: after just  a few sessions you will make huge leaps in what you think, do and believe about yourself and start to do things you’ve been stuck about for a long time.

This is what a recent client (consultant physician) emailed me after a few weeks coaching from me:

While at first, phone calls and e-mails seemed a funny way to discuss such personal matters, it really works. When I feel in danger of becoming a ‘I hate my job’ bore with my friends – I can tell you instead! Somehow you helped me to lift my head up above the endless cycle of asking myself the same questions over and over again, and help me to take control over my decisions. I think that you have helped me to gain a lot of confidence in myself over the last few months, and have helped me to do my work a lot better. While ultimately the decision is mine, it is lovely to have your support and encouragement. It is important to me that you are independent ,with no ‘angle’ on my decision, unlike my husband and parents (who would prefer me to continue in my work but are coming round to the idea that they would like me to be happy.) The hardest thing that you have started is to help me face up to uncertainty about the future. Well, if my boss seems happy to do that – he seems confident that he would be able to fill my job, then I should be. I find his confidence in his ability to replace me a little unnerving! 

Sometimes you realise that something has to change in your life:Coaching can be the catalyst you need! 

 

Doctors and Holidays?

Holidays are supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable time, even if you are a doctor. It should be a time  to let go of the overwhelm of your medical practice and reconnect not only with family and friends but also with yourself.

But your experience may not be the idyllic time of fun and relaxation portrayed in the travel brochures. Your holiday  may equal your expectation of  what ought to happen when you take time away from work.
Instead of feeling refreshed and relaxed you come back to your patients feeling worse than they look,  exhausted, frustrated  and wondering what happened to your dreams of rest and relaxation.

While away you found it was almost impossible to forget about work- related worries and however much you tried to leave technology at home you found yourself checking and answering emails and discussing work issues with colleagues via email or Skype in spite of the irritation and annoyance of your family or friends.

You’ve been left wondering if it always has to be like that: whether as a doctor you can ever ‘get away from it all’, and enjoy a holiday.
But it doesn’t have to be like this! There is an alternative if you can do just three simple things:

  1. set boundaries
  2. look after yourself
  3. relax

Setting  boundaries: decide before you go away what you will accept  in relation to emails, telephone calls and dealing with emergencies: by making sure you have arranged adequate cover for your routine work, told those who need to be told what you do not want to be contacted about and who will deal with any urgent problems.

Looking after yourself: remember to address your needs in relation to:  body, mind and spirit so exercise regularly, by walking swimming or whatever opportunities your holiday destination offers, eat and drink well but not excessively; and enjoy the moment whether it’s a wonderful sunset a magnificent view from the top of a mountain or across the sea or whatever inspires you in your holiday environment.

Relax: Be aware of areas of tension in your body then consciously take a deep slow breathe in and as you breathe out let go of that tension. Repeat this exercise during the day whenever you think about work or things you have to do when you return.

There are of course many other things you could do when on holiday to let go of the work stress and return refreshed and face the challenges again.

However if you make a start with these three and please put a comment below this post with your thoughts about more  ways which help doctors enjoy their holidays more and leave work stress behind them for a while so that they, and you, can  come back to work refreshed and ready to tackle problems.

 

Making changes: you have to take action and stop procrastinating!

So many doctors would like to have a different sort of life. Do you sometimes dream of a life, yes, as a doctor, but with the time to do the sort of work that inspires you and has a huge benefit for your patients? Yet instead you have to deal with the reality of busy clinics, demanding patients with not much wrong with them while others who you would dearly love to have the time and energy to treat and give the benefit of your expertise to, are side-tracked because you have to keep going to get the work done each day.

Take your first step!

Perhaps at first you were so thrilled to have qualified after all those long years of study as a medical student, that you were even glad to suffer the lack of sleep and heavy work load of the time you spent as a junior doctor, yet always dreaming of when you would become a consultant and then at least you would have the life you dreamed of.

Yet perhaps it hasn’t quite worked out the way you hoped. You are the victim of your own success. Even though you are highly intelligent you just don’t seem to be able to make the changes you know you want to make. You succumb to the ‘emotional blackmail’ of colleagues asking you to do extra work, or the opportunity to do extra private work, because you know you can genuinely help people with your expertise and you hate the idea of letting people down by saying ‘no’.

You are juggling too many plates in the air and are becoming more and more stressed as a result.

There is an alternative: you could:

  • discover how to free up more time
  • start to put yourself first for a change
  • do the work you love, yet on your terms
  • change something in yourself
  • actually take the actions you know you have to take
  • stop procrastinating
  • become highly motivated

How can you achieve all of these?
Be highly self-motivated, make your plans and take action. You already know what you want to do so ‘just do it.’ But you’ve been like that for years so what would give you that push you need to actually make that difference and initiate the changes you want?

Find someone who is ‘on your side’, supporting your ideas, motivating you to take action, acting as a sounding board, challenging you to think through what you plan so you so you develop the strategy best for you.

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