Every year a new set of physicians get out of medical college and hope to do their best in their profession which is demanding to say the least. To move from being a resident to becoming a physician and finding a job is a challenging task in itself. This job is a culmination of years of hard work, long hours of study and a promise of a successful career.
To become a successful physician is not easy despite having the skill and knowledge, there are a lot of challenges that they have to get through to succeed. Even though there is a dire need for physicians today, it’s important that you learn things from the horse’s mouth. Below are some tips from the experts who have been through tough situations, sailed through and have created inspirational success stories by becoming the best physicians in the industry.
Being nervous is normal and it’s okay to ask for help:
As a medical student, you would not have had responsibilities when it comes to major decision making as that would be handled by senior doctors. But once you transition to a physician it can seem quite daunting to you at first as the responsibility of the patient is completely yours. Being nervous about your decisions is normal and is not something unique. Usually, doctors in hospitals work in big teams with senior doctors, nurses, etc. and if you are confused, you can always approach them for help. Ensure that you are ready with the case details and ask for help rather than the direct solution.
Empathize with patients:
One of the most important qualities of a good doctor or a physician is empathy. It can help to connect with the patient immediately and put them at ease.
Here are some of the ways to do it
- It is essential to have an open ear when your patient is talking to you. It is not easy but with a little practice and patience, you can master it. Try to put yourself in their position as that will help you know how they feel. Also never interrupt when the patient is talking, listen and repeat so that the problem is understood.
- Try to get away from the preconceived notions and prejudices based on appearances or behavior and pay close attention to the patient. Work with an open mind so that there is no bias when you are dealing with them. Maintain proper eye-contact so that they know you care about them and that also helps you to connect and build trust with them.
- Look for any non-verbal clues that you get from them so that you can help your patients better. Also, get a thorough history as that will always help you with the diagnosis.
Communication is the key:
Communication skills may not be your strong suit but it is an essential skill that you have to learn if you want to have a successful career as a physician. Communication may be with your patient, colleague or a caregiver - you should be to articulate what you need to express clearly for the benefit of everyone around you. As per expert tips, immaterial of the communication being verbal or written via email, it has to be clear and easily understandable. In verbal communication ask questions so that you know the other person has understood what was to be conveyed.
Set the right expectations:
Managing the expectations of the patients is essential to become a successful physician. One should neither give false hopes or make false claims nor make statements that will make them nervous. It is essential to maintain a balance and set the right expectations, it may be for treatment options, recovery or anything medical related. For example: If the patient is told s/he will be sent home in 3 days and if they are asked to stay for 5 they will think that you are a bad doctor who did not treat them properly. But instead, if the expectation is set such that the discharge criteria are reduced symptoms and not time the patient is less likely to blame you for his extended stay in the hospital.
Don’t use technical jargon when talking to patients:
When explaining a medical condition or treatment options or any other medical-related facts it is essential to use simple language. More often than not, new physicians use medical jargon unknowingly when they talk to patients and that can be quite confusing for them. Explain it in simple terms the way you would do it to your friend, parent or spouse in a non-medical way so that they know what ails them and they are prepared to feel and get better.
Maintain proper clinical documentation:
Important patient information relating to his treatment is crucial and a part of clinical documentation. It is essential to maintain this properly as that will enable you to know the exact status, the current treatment plan and much more. As the patient’s doctor, it is your duty to maintain it accurately and completely and is also a great reflection of your quality of work. Lack of proper documentation will reflect badly even if you had taken good care of the patient. Listed below are a few tips to maintain proper documentation.
- Note the reason for the visit and the diagnosis. Also record the status of it as confirmed, suspected or eliminated and make the documentation thorough.
- It is best to use digital documentation than having it handwritten as it is more efficient and there are fewer chances of error due to lack of understanding.
- All the tests and their reports should be documented along with diagnosis, treatment, and significance. This will also help while there is a case audit.
- Ensure that the comments in the patients’ chart are precise and no fact is over or understated.
Invest time on yourself:
Staying motivated, confident and up-to-date with the latest in the medical field is essential and so is taking proper rest.
- Ensure that you take a vacation or a few days off to refresh and rejuvenate
- Attend meetings, conferences, and other such events to keep updated
- Prioritize your family life too and spend quality time with friends and near ones
- Learn to say no and set boundaries
- Make friends with colleagues and socialize with them
- Everyone makes mistakes, don’t get bogged down by it learn instead learn and move on.
For any new physician, it is the right time to put those skills that you learned in medical college to test and also to find your feet and make a mark as a good physician. Following the above expert tips will help you transition from a resident to a good physician.