7 Habits of Successful Doctors

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Hadeel Abdelkariem, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Hadeel Abdelkariem

    Hadeel Abdelkariem Golden Member

    Apr 1, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Practicing medicine in:

    Unfortunately, the modern pharmaceutical industry has yet to come up with a drug that’s a self-improvement panacea. Even in 2019 we still need to do the work of creating and sticking to sustainable habits that can help us become successful. But, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. As you’re reviewing your New Year’s resolutions, try developing these 7 habits for successful doctors.


    Be punctual
    We live in the instant era. Nearly every piece of information we could ever want is a few quick taps away on an internet-connected device. As a result, people have grown increasingly impatient, with attention spans that are now shorter than those of goldfish.

    In comparison, our lives — including the lives of doctors — have grown increasingly hectic. Think of how cluttered your schedule is with meetings, tasks like EHRs and familial obligations. Your time is more in demand than ever.

    The same is true of your patients. They don’t like waiting, and odds are, they have somewhere else to be. It’s time to make punctuality a priority in 2019. Take advantage of your smartphone’s reminder and calendar alert functions. If that doesn’t work, get someone on your team to keep you moving from patient to patient in a timely manner.

    Communicate clearly
    Chances are, you didn’t get into medicine because of your communication skills. But communication is at the heart of what every doctor does. Whether it’s coordinating with a team of caregivers, or instructing a patient on home care, you need to be able to articulate your desires clearly. And since everyone is so crunched for time, you need to do it succinctly.

    If you’re communicating via email, bulleted lists are easily digestible. If you’re texting, clarity is key. Make sure what you’re saying actually makes sense before you hit send — especially if you’re using voice-to-text. For face-to-face communication, ask questions to make sure the person you’re speaking to understands you. Don’t assume that they do because they’re nodding their head.

    Establish boundaries
    Smartphones have eroded the traditional separation between work and personal life. And unfortunately for you, people never stop doing dumb things to put themselves in your office or the hospital. With these two facts in mind, you need to be even more protective of your down time. You need this time to recharge so that you can be more effective and more successful in your practice.

    Not on call? Then put the smartphone in another room when you go to bed. On vacation? Stop checking work email. Go somewhere where there’s no reception if you have to. At your daughter’s recital? Then be at your daughter’s recital, not thinking about the inexperienced intern working with you.

    Make rest and recovery a priority
    Research has shown that what sets humans apart in earth’s biome is our ability to run. We evolved to endure, running long distances and coordinating with teams to bring home dinner, according to one common evolutionary hypothesis.

    But even elite endurance athletes need to rest and recover. This is also true of the superhuman species, Physicianus Erectus. Despite your never-show-weakness training, you need to make recovery a priority in 2019, or you’re likely to become another burnout statistic.

    Learn something from residents
    Back to that intern. Ever think he might know something you don’t? Sure, he constantly complains about the workload and won’t stop messing around on his phone, but he did, after all, just come out of medical school.

    Invest some time in learning what you can from doctors with less experience. Odds are, they have some insights on the latest and greatest modalities that haven’t made their way to you yet. Plus, teaching is one of the better ways of learning something. By asking them to educate you, you’re helping to cultivate the next generation of doctors.

    Block out time to think
    It seems crazy, right? You’re busier than ever and this post is telling you to block out time to do nothing — just think. But your level of busyness is exactly why you need to devote time to thinking.

    Regardless of your level of personal and professional activity, your personal and professional problems aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they might be piling up. The only way to solve them is to consider them. And the only way to consider them is to devote time to thinking.

    Spend five minutes at the beginning of your day thinking about the day’s most important question (MIQ). Your MIQ could be anything: The best way to handle a multi-drug-resistant infection, your daughter’s middling grades in algebra, how to correct your backswing. Your MIQ can be any question that’s occupying your mental bandwidth. Think about it. Make a few notes about where your thoughts took you.

    At the end of our day, spend another five minutes revisiting your MIQ. What insights did you glean about it during the day? What solutions did you come up with? Repeat the process the next day with the same or a different question.

    Twenty-four percent of U.S. adults haven’t read a book in the past 12 months. Leisure reading is at an all-time low. There are likely a fair number of you reading this post who haven’t read a book since medical school. Need some research-backed reasons to read more? It slows the progress of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It can stave off late-life cognitive decline. Reading can also make you more empathetic.

    The average American adult is spending 45 minutes daily on social media. Imagine how many books you could read and how much knowledge you could acquire if you spent that time reading something useful.


    Add Reply

Share This Page