Tag Archives: taking action

Doctor, you are not indispensable: put yourself first for a change!

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Although you may believe that you are indispensable, you might, one day, become unable to work. Perhaps you develop an illness which means you must take time away from work to recover fully either physically, emotionally or both. 

You may not want to take this time away from work although you are told that it is vital you do, or circumstances may mean you have no choice because  of the type of work you do or the type of treatment you have to undergo.

Doctors, like you, are particularly bad at taking necessary time away from work to fully recover. You feel guilty at letting your  patients down and even more, you realise your  colleagues will have to do much more work to cover for your  absence until you return or how quickly a locum is found.

You know that even with good locum cover there will be a considerable number of their patients who would rather wait to see their ‘own’ doctor when you return. 

All these factors can result in you not taking enough time to fully recover from your illness and so you may return and be less able to cope with the work load, take more time to do simple tasks and are not able to work as efficiently or even as competently as before.

What is the alternative? If you are a doctor who is or becomes ill then what you must do is to  be more ‘selfish’. The word ‘selfish’ may have bad connotations for you. 

Think about it meaning ‘self-care’.

When you take more care of yourself and your own needs, you will cope much more effortlessly with those of your patients. Relax Note Showing Less Stress And Tense

Don’t wait to find solace in drink or drugs, or until you reach crisis point. Find someone to encourage and support you unconditionally.  Don’t wait until you become so exhausted that you become ‘burnt out’ and have to take early retirement on health grounds. 

Instead put yourself first for a change. Listen to what you are advised to do and decide whether you can do that. Put your own needs to recover fully at the top of your agenda and don’t let guilty feelings about letting people down get in the way of your personal needs to recovery time.  

It’s a hard lesson to realise that you are dispensable but it’s true.  So do the best for you and then you will be in the best state to get on with whatever you want.

What is on the top of your agenda when you are ill or becoming burnt out? Please add your comments by clicking the ‘leave a comment button at the top of this post.

PS If you haven’t already got your free copy of Lifestyle coaching for doctors please complete the form in the sidebar —>>> and get yours before I take it down!

LIFESTYLECOACHINGCOVER

 

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.

 

 

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‘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!)

 

 

 

Time for something different?

Have you ever wanted to do something different and know how much you want to do so, yet in spite of knowing what you want, the advantages, and exactly what you must do, yet you just don’t actually do it?

Time for something different?
Time for something different?

You may know what to do yet don’t have the confidence or the courage to take that step. It might be because someone else is trying unsuccessfully to encourage you because they are trying to persuade you to do something not your priority!

Yet with some non specific encouragement you can get to where you want to be more easily.

One way to gain the confidence to make changes is to do something creative. You don’t need any special skills except a willingness to try something new, something which will occupy your mind for a while. When you do this you not only feel energised and relaxed but also discover answers to challenges which have been bothering you.

Connect and Change offers an opportunity to experience some new things and get out of the box for a few days.
www.susankersley.co.uk/connectandchange

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! 

No more procrastination to achieve your goals.

When I’ve written about setting goals, I’ve emphasized how important it is to break the big goal, into smaller do-able steps, because sometimes you can live with an intention about something and be daunted by the size of the task. By breaking it into manageable steps it becomes much easier to move forward step by step to achieve your goal. As you complete the steps it’s useful if they are written on a chart and ticked once completed.
But so many people when asked why they haven’t done what they said they would do, answer with ‘I’ve been too busy’ ‘I’ll get around to it, one of these days’ and so on. There are a hundred and one reasons and excuses for not actually doing something. If you’ve followed the suggestion about small steps and still haven’t taken the action, perhaps the step you chose was still too big. Break it down to something even smaller. Ask yourself, ‘what has to happen before I can this or that?’
Ask yourself too if your stated goal is the right goal. A common reason for procrastinating is that you aren’t passionate about achieving your stated goal! What are you passionate about and have you the same feelings about what you say you want to do?
If you are passionate about the vision you have, and about the goals you have set out to achieve, then you have to just do it. This is the tag line used by Nike and I love it. It’s simple and to the point. Too often in a culture of having to ‘get approval’ from someone else, we lose the impetus to ‘just do it’ If you want something done, if you feel strongly about something, if you notice something which needs doing, if you hear about a problem which you can solve then just do it.
Take the steps which need to be taken, contact the people who need to be contacted. Tell others that you are going to do what you are going to do, then just do it.
Sometimes this will involve you changing a long-term habit, and that might be difficult. You, like everyone, are a creature of habits. But these can be changed. Before you go for the big ones, try changing a habit or two unrelated to your goal. For example, eat something different for breakfast, take a different route to your destination, wear a different style of clothes, whatever you want, but change something each day!
Then you will find that when it comes to the first step it will be so much easier to make progress.

 

A Doctor’s Dilemma

Life is full of decision-making and there are many times in a doctor’s life when you have to stop and ask yourself: ‘Which direction shall I take now?’  in relation to your career path or to issues in your personal life. This is the doctor’s dilemma.
It may seem difficult to make that necessary decision because you are so engulfed in the ‘what will people think of me if I do this rather than that?’ mindset.  There may be well-meaning senior colleagues who talk as if they know what sort of life is best for you and as they describe how they see your future you inwardly cringe and wonder how they could possibly believe that they know what you really want.

Stop finding reasons and take the action you want to take….

No-one can foretell what the future will bring for you, that is why making some decisions about your life is such a dilemma for many doctors: however when you find yourself saying or thinking along the lines of:  ‘if I had my time over again I would definitely have made a different choice,’ then you have a strong clue about what you could or even should be doing with your life now.  So think back to a time when you took a leap into the unknown or decided to do something a bit scary and recall what it was that gave you the push to do it. Maybe you took a deep breath and jumped or maybe you wanted to prove someone’s judgement about you as wrong, whatever it took you took that apprehension and just did it.
Since you have started to think about alternatives and other possibilities about your life, you have already started on a journey of change and even with your dilemma about which path to take it’s important to make a choice without endlessly procrastinating.  Even if you decide to stay where you are things will be different because you have been considering other possibilities. That means that something will have changed in your present situation too. You may have discovered a way to improve it or may become more determined than ever to explore new ways. Project your thoughts into the future perhaps a year or several years ahead and imagine your life if you continue as you are or if you make the changes you are considering.
Can you imagine how the future you would look back to the today you and remember how great you felt afterwards and how pleased you were with yourself for being courageous enough to take that first step?

Confidential, one to one, on the telephone…. Can I help?

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.

Find out more about COACHING

Work Life Balance

I have referred to Medicine being like a monster that eats into your life and the following blog post compares working as a physician as being like having a gorilla in your life! The advice this author gives is congruent with what I’ve written about making your out of work committments as important as those at work: saying no more often to extra work and yes more to things you do which nurture your own health and well-being. Click the link below to read the article.

Work Life Balance for Doctors means saying No with power and grace

www.thehappymd.com3/20/12

Work life balance for doctors means being able to say no to defend your larger life from the 800 pound gorilla that is your career.

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.