Tag Archives: supporting doctors

Doctor, improve your coaching skills

Coaching is a way of enabling people to find their own solutions to their challenges and so it’s always useful  improve your coaching skills and use them as much as possible.
As a doctor you may need to be prescriptive at certain times, yet there are instances when  you could use coaching skills rather than just telling the patient what to do.  When someone is involved in the decision-making process then there is likely to be greater compliance with the part of the procedure or treatment about which they have less choice. Here is a reminder of ways to use coaching within the medical consulation:

Ask the patient for their suggestions:
Rather than telling the patient with  heart condition ‘ Lose weight and stop smoking,’ ask:
‘ what will you alter in your life in order to increase  your chances of recovery from this illness?’
When they (hopefully) say they need to lose weight you could ask how they intend to do that, or what help they would like from you or the practice in order to achieve their goals.’

Encourage them to set achievable and specific goals:
If, for example,  they have come up with their needed lifestyle change would involve weight loss find out how they intend t achieve this rather than plunging a diet sheet in their hand and saying: ‘just do what it says in the leaflet.‘
When the patient knows the goals they are working towards they are being forward thinking and outcome focussed and that in itself can be beneficial to someone who is feeling awful in the present time. It’s about encouraging them to think positively, take each step as it comes while keeping  a desired outcome in their mind do they can move as close to it as they can do.

If you have useful information to share in the discussion then always ask:
‘ May I tell you what happened when other patients tried to do that?’ or ‘Can I tell you the options you have to cure this illness or to relieve your symptoms?’

When the patient asks for more information about their illness, ask first what they already know about it or if they have known someone with something similar and what they might be worried about in relation to that illness.  In this way you can focus in on their worries and anxieties and discuss their options further, allaying fears and reassuring them about what they can do to help themselves in addition to what you can do too to help them.

You may find coaching can help you too! Click here to find out more.

 

Life for doctors – don’t neglect the rest…

If you’ve been through years of medical training, passed your exams and become a doctor, ask yourself whether you are a doctor for life and discover for yourself how much of you is now wrapped up in your identity as a doctor?
It’s important to remember that you are more than your profession, that you are more than your training and you deserve to have a life both in and out of Medicine.

Yet so many doctors forget this and as a result they neglect the important parts of themselves that existed before they became doctors and will be there when they have retired from Medicine.

If this applies to you too then consider this: your life as a doctor is more than your medical practice. You are allowed to have other interests apart from medicine and to have the time to spend with friends, family and community too.

What’s stopping you having your life as a doctor combined with a life away from that identity?
Perhaps there are overwhelming pressures on you to pass examinations, to do more research and to fulfill the expectations of your seniors. Maybe you put so much pressure onto your juniors in their pursuit of medical excellence and success that they daren’t question you nor realise that a doctor needs balance in his or her life.

Yet when you do create space for something away from your medical work you will find that you become more able to deal with the stresses of your day to day working life as a doctor.

Remind yourself that you became a doctor to diagnose and treat sick people, but you didn’t necessarily agree to give up every other aspect of your life. Recall what used to make your heart sing before you became overwhelmed with the doctor’s life. You may find that just remembering what it was that gave you an internal buzz that you realise you would love to re-visit that hobby or activity once more.

Don’t only think it, make the decision now, today, that something has to change and do one thing differently that will be the first step to changing your life to include things away from Medicine for a regular time set side each week just for you. The step you take could be simple and might be for example to book a ticket to go to a concert, see a film, join a class, bang a drum or go for a walk in the park.

Coaching helps. More information HERE too.

Does Coaching Work For Doctors?

Does coaching work for doctors?Coaching can enable doctors to  find their own way forward to a more balanced and happier life. This is what coaching can do for you if you are a doctor who is wondering about coaching and feeling hesitant about hiring a coach because you don’t really understand how a coach might be useful:

A coach can:

  • Motivate you to move forward and do what you want to do by encouraging you to take the first step and then some more, especially for those things you have been procrastinating about for some time.
  • Listen to your concerns about possible courses of action  and then by asking you challenging questions make you think afresh about what’s happening in your life and make the decision that’s best for you at this time.
  • Challenge your beliefs about the way things are and the ways they could be, by helping you question long-held ideas which no longer serve you.
  • Be on your side, supporting you in whatever course of action you decide to take  without an agenda of their own. For example,  colleagues might be shocked to hear you say you might leave the medical profession, or would like to spend more time with your friends and family, whereas the coach will help you  consider alternatives you might not have thought about before and then motivate you to do what you need to do.
  • Be in contact with you on a regular basis either on the telephone, email or Skype thus avoiding lengthy journeys for face to face meetings.
  • Enable you to clarify your goals so that you can make decisions and take action  in relation to challenges old or new, so that you make a difference to your life.
  • Teach you skills you can use if you are faced with similar challenges in the future. For instance you could  learn ways to communicate more effectively and  use what you learn when faced with a similar situation in the future.

Thus coaching can be useful for doctors like you. But only you can take that first step of making contact, discussing what you hope to achieve and then making a commitment to the process.

When you take that first step, which means you may feel you are stepping out of your comfort zone. However  when you do this you are embarking on your personal journey and  you will quickly find your very own prescription  for change.

Find out more about Coaching here.

What can you do?

What to do to have a more balanced life as a doctor:

1. Stop taking physical documents, patient’s files and journals with you in order to catch up during the evening or weekend. Instead just leave the files, the work diary or the briefcase in your office at work. Leasve it there and also so something to tell yourself you are leaving it there until tomorrow and you will deal with it then. This could be saying something to yourself as you wash your hands: ‘I’m leaving all that stuff here until tomorrow.’

2. Stop taking thoughts with you so that you no longer find it difficult to ‘switch off’ and are able to  stop thinking about a particular patient and whether or not you might have missed something or prescribed the right treatment. Instead be aware that every time you take a  breath in you are breathing in relaxation and calmness and as you breathe out you are letting go of tension and stress.

3. Stop dealing with other people’s questions and expectations: even  if they have a medical problem and think you are willing to give your opinion whatever the time is and wherever you may be. Instead say ‘no’ assertively, calmly and firmly. Everyone including you is entitled to some leisure time and  tell them to make an appointment to see you professionally if they want your professional expertise.

Leaving or staying in Medicine?

Not so much the patients themselves or even the mental challenge of taking their history, doing the examination, arranging appropriate investigations and deciding on the best treatment, but more the aggravation of too much to do in the day, the lack of co-operation from others, the demands made of you, all add up to make you wonder if you really want to carry on for years more.

The dilemma is this: do you really want to give it all up, pack it all in and if so for what? Do you really want to let go of all those years of specialised training and start again with something entirely different and new?

You will be a better doctor if you spend some time away from it

Everyone gets ‘stale’ when they don’t  have a break away from work. After a few days doing something entirely different you will come back with added energy and enthusiasm. That can only be beneficial for not only you but for your patients too.

You will develop other skills and interests for when you eventually retire

When the time comes to leave Medicine you will have lots of possibilities for what you can do instead.

Find out if Coaching could enable you to make the decison right for you.

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Are these the biggest 12 challenges for doctors today?

doctor with headache

  1. Goal setting: Setting goals: Vital to set SMART goals so you can be very clear about what you want.
  2. Work life Balance: Balancing work and life – there is more to life than work.
  3. Managing time – essential for making space for a new life to happen.
  4. Self care: Deciding what you have forgotten to do lately and make a commitment to improve your self care
  5. Environment and behaviour: Noticing how small changes in your environment and or your behaviour result big positive effect
  6. Capability: you may be needing to learn some new skills and or   teaching some skills to people around you.
  7. Beliefs and Values: recognising that some beliefs are powerful enough to stop your change, yet beliefs can be changed.
  8. Identity: You are not your job or profession. Noticing how your ideas about who you are, may be stopping you doing what you want.
  9. Purpose:  Discovering why you are here and by doing this being motivated to achieve your purpose.
  10. Communication skills: Being  able to communicate what you want to do when it affects others and learning how to do this more effectively
  11. Stress management:  Learning techniques to reduce or get rid of stress.
  12. Creativity: getting in touch with your creative side which may have been dormant if your job has encouraged you to follow rigid procedures.

Comments  and additions ….please add yours.

Group support for doctors?

Many people find joining a group for support through change is beneficial. Would a group for doctors who want your lives to be much, much better also work?

It might be useful for doctors who:

  • have read about personal development
  • haven’t made the changes they want yet

Doctors might resist joining a group because they:

  • never have enough time
  • have not been fitting in much apart from work into their day.
  • find that their family complains they are never at home
  • can’t remember when they last had a walk, went to the theatre or saw a film…….

Being part of a supportive group is for you if you want to:

  • Make changes in your life
  • Have more time
  • Stop feeling stressed
  • Become fitter
  • Be happier
  • Recognise you have choices
  • Enjoy the synergy and support of a group.

Joining a group can be an opportunity for support, encouragement and motivation. You may be able to meet each other face to face but it can work well if you meet on the telephone or on the internet. Any way that you can share ideas in a supportive environment can be very useful.

But how many doctors would be willing to do this? Is there a built-in resistance amongst doctors about admitting vulnerability and not being able to cope with something or needing to discuss future plans in a non-judgmental environment?

Being part of a group is commonplace for doctors especially when discussing clinical decisions. Could it become more often used too as a way to talk about personal development and also emotional issues in relation to dealing with patients? Not the diagnosis and treatment but more about how they deal with the emotional impact of dealing with patients.

What do you think about group support for doctors?

Just do what you really want to do…

Have you got some brilliant ideas which you think might revolutionise the way you, your colleagues or the whole health service might work? Is there a bit of an entrepreneur in you? If you’ve always had a yearning to do something innovative or unusual what will you do to take your ideas forward? Perhaps you’ve thought of something which could revolutionise the lives of the medical profession or for patients with certain conditions. Don’t keep these ideas to yourself. Decide to do something about it.

With plenty of encouragement you may find that whatever you are keen about is of interest to others. They want to hear about what makes you ‘tick,’ what you are passionate about, who you are in your medical role or what you get up to outside of Medicine.

Who or what boosts your morale and fuels your enthusiasm? Think of someone who can give you the unconditional support you need, who sees you and your ideas in a positive light and encourages and motivates you to take them forward.

With that sort of support changes which seem impossible can become quite easy. You may be surprised how simple it is to do something different once you’ve made up your mind and stepped over the narrow dividing line between the situation you find yourself in and the one you want. Your ‘comfort zone’ may not be ideal but it’s often reassuring because you know the rules, even if you don’t like them, at least it’s familiar territory, easier to cope with than to step into an unknown situation. Taking that step into another situation can seem so daunting that you remain ‘stuck’ sometimes for years. knowing what you want to do, even knowing how you are going to do it, and yet you don’t take any action for change.

Ask yourself what stops you taking that first step. Very often it is fear of the unknown, fear of failure, or fear of what other people might think of you. So you, like most other people, take the easy way out and put up with the situation as it is.

Think about it: if you are living the sort of life which results in you feeling unhappy or unfulfilled and you know exactly what you want instead and yet you stay in the same place. Instead you can take some small action and move to where you really want to be because when you actually take that step, you may wonder why it took you so long to take action.

Doctors need support as much as other people

What do you do if you feel that you can’t cope with a situation? Perhaps other people are making suggestions to help you but you don’t listen because you don’t like the idea of asking for help from someone else.

You may be someone who believes that you have to deal with everything on your own without any help from others. It’s true there seems to be a culture amongst doctors of the idea that they have to deal with whatever happens in the course of their work or personal life on their own and without any support form others.

If this applies to you ask yourself , why?  Is it because you believe it’s a sign of weakness  to admit you find it difficult to cope with the situation?

It can be difficult to admit that you don’t know all the answers, especially if you believe others will think less of you if you admit ignorance. Yet if you can get over this obstacle, which may be to a large extent in your own mind rather than having much basis in reality, you can then begin to experience how wonderful to have someone to talk to about what’s going  on for you.

It’s a remarkable process that happens when you allow yourself to talk openly and truthfully to another person about the stress or challenges you are experiencing. The actual telling is in itself very powerful and in so doing you become of all sorts of answers to your dilemma and may decide quite quickly what to do next. This is all without much interception form the other person except for the listening skills they’ve used and perhaps the occasional question they’ve asked of you. The latter will have made you think of exactly what your desired outcome for the situation is and

So, stop putting obstacles between you and other people and  don’t put up barriers to communication either, nor  hold back from jumping to conclusions.

You may have people such as colleagues or friends or family who would be willing to listen to your dilemmas and guide you towards finding a solution for yourself. A coach will have been trained to do this effectively. One of the most important attributes a a good coach is starting on time, listening intently, asking pertinent questions and helping you explore some options you hadn’t thought of before.

Then you can take the leap you know you must take and make good choices for your life change.