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Difficult Conversations – Advice For Registrars

Discussion in 'Doctors Cafe' started by Lets Enjoy Medicine, Jun 20, 2021.

  1. Lets Enjoy Medicine

    Lets Enjoy Medicine Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2021
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    Dear Registrars,

    Difficult conversations.

    They don’t just happen with patients. They happen with partners, with friends and family. Not surprisingly, they also happen at work. And the stakes are high. Not least of which is your feeling of wellbeing and enjoyment of your career. The good news is that there are plenty of resources, information and supports out there that work, and it starts and ends with a positive healthy thinking style.

    It is not realistic to expect, with the complexity of different practices, people, education, exam preparation, illness and leave, that problems will never arise between registrars and practices. Unrealistic expectations lead us to failure and don’t allow us to properly define and address a problem efficiently. These relational problems will always exist in some way. They form part of my core business and matter to me because HOW we manage them is the difference between an issue dissolving away with good conversation and goodwill or igniting into a fire of financial, medico legal and emotional distress for all. To reassure you all, these instances are wonderfully few and far between, but even so they are unpleasant enough that my mission is for continual improvement.

    Reassuringly, the model for our patients, also works in relationships with our supervisor and other staff. It can be applied to talking about payslips, relationships with reception, conditions, contracts, holiday and education pay.

    1) Remain positive, assume the person has good intentions, being mindful that stress tends you to a negative thinking style.

    2) Act in a timely way on the issue – talk about it, reply as early as able to communications, even if you don’t know the answer. “Thanks for your email. I look forward to talking about this. Can i get back to you in the next few days [while i get some more information/advice]?”

    3) Give yourself with the security of:

    a) healthy communication: ask the person involved to set aside some time for a short conversation over coffee, communicate in an informal friendly, polite and timely way.

    b) Information: prepare by finding the information you need about the issue (e.g. NTCER on GPRA, FAQs on GPTQ website) and make a couple of dot point notes for yourself for the meeting

    4) Use your supports early: GPRA, medical educator, GPTQ, RLO.

    5) Use objective language – particularly use the word “I”. “I would like to understand my pay a little better. I am new to this so can we sit down with my last couple of payslips and talk them through?” – I would like to understand how the practice nurse does these assessments and what is expected of me, can we make a time to go through this?

    See this as an opportunity to grow and learn the skill of the workplace and don’t baulk at asking for help. And keep in mind one core principle in any difficult conversation. Seek first to understand, and only then to be understood.

    Take care awesome people.


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