There’s always room for improvement in a person’s career and life.
Self improvement, whether professional or personal, is an ongoing process that requires daily attention.
Working to be a better doctor will provide a goal to work towards, while also improving your career both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Whether you’re just beginning your career or you’re a doctor with an established career, it’s worth taking the time to do a self-evaluation to identify areas for improvement.
Some doctors are completely dedicated to the job, with little room for anything else in their lives.
Others have no outside interests beyond medicine, so dedicate all their time to work.
Whatever the reason, working every day without a break, never taking a vacation, and doing only work-related activities is a great way to suffer burnout.
What began as passion and drive, but turned into burnout, can rob you of the joy you once felt for being a medical professional.
If you can’t remember the last time you had a vacation, do yourself a favor and take a few days off.
Work on Your Bedside Manner
For doctors who have been told by several patients that they have good bedside manner, this doesn’t apply.
But if it’s been a while since a patient complimented you on your bedside manner, or if your peers have never mentioned how good you are with patients, you might have a problem.
Medical knowledge is important, yes, but so are social skills and compassion.
Take the time to work on your bedside manner.
It’s worth it.
And your patients will thank you.
Sometimes simply listening to a patient is enough.
Proper nutrition is important to staying healthy.
We know that.
But as a doctor, how much do you really know about nutrition and its effects?
If you suspect you could know more, then it’s time to get up to speed on the latest research.
If you don’t have time for reading, picking the brain of a nutritionist can help fill in your knowledge gaps.
In addition to becoming a better-informed health professional, you’ll also find that you’re better able to assist your patients.
Ask Patients for Feedback
Asking patients to provide anonymous feedback can provide insight into your practice that may not otherwise be identified.
By keeping responses anonymous, people will feel more comfortable providing answers, and will likely also be more honest.
If your practice is having some trouble, these answers could provide insight into the underlying issues.
For problem-free practices, patient feedback will still show where you have room for improvement.
An added bonus is, once you have enough responses, the ability to identify trends and patterns in responses could provide insight into ways you can improve your practice.
Be Humble, Not Arrogant
Doctors are often accused of arrogance or having a superior attitude.
It’s important to remember that, although your job involves saving lives, you’re not better than anyone else simply because of your career.
Granted, you might very well be far superior to your peers, with awards and recognition to back it up.
Even then, your superiority can be handled with humility instead of arrogance.
Adopting an attitude of humility will lead to better work relationships and improve your interactions with patients.
Social Media - Use Caution
The internet doesn’t forget is a common saying.
Even when used purely for personal use, what you post on social media can affect your career.
It pays to take a distanced, cautious approach to social media so as not to inadvertently create controversy.
Aside from the obvious off-limits content, each time you post to social media, consider how your comments could be interpreted.
And remember that posting a comment or reply in anger is never a good idea.
Wait for the heat of the moment to cool off, then write a rational, considered post when you have a clearer head.
Cultivate a Mentor
For those who don’t have someone they consider a mentor, consider building a professional relationship with an experienced medical practitioner.
For those just starting out, getting advice from more experienced doctors is a great way to improve your skills and abilities.
For those further along in their careers, there are still benefits to be gained from asking questions of more experienced doctors.
Embrace Lifelong Learning
There’s always more to know.
That’s why doctors attend seminars and presentations.
But the learning shouldn’t stop there.
To stay abreast of ongoing developments in the world of medicine, continue to read medical journals, seek out the knowledge of others, and work to keep current.
In addition to reading, learning opportunities exist in working out techniques or methods used by peers that have proven successful.
Avoid Office Politics
Office politics is never a good game to play.
Often, it’s better to keep a distance from the drama and controversy that can develop in workplaces.
Rather than getting embroiled in such situations, consider taking a diplomatic stance.
Approaching potentially problematic situations with an attitude of cooperation is often the best approach.
There are many ways to contribute to the community.
Yes, being a doctor is already a contribution.
This is about doing the work without considering personal gain or benefit.
Being a community-minded person can make you feel better, and also helps to create a better world for everyone.
Some ways to give back include volunteering your services at a community clinic, getting involved in street outreach, helping underprivileged communities, or donating your time to a university clinic.
Of course, your volunteer efforts don’t have to be work-related - you’ll still notice the benefits of doing good for the community.
Ensuring your certifications are up to date is essential.
To broaden your knowledge and abilities as a doctor, consider earning additional certifications that aren’t necessary, but could add to your knowledge base.
For example, you could participate in courses generally reserved for nurses to be better able to relate to nursing staff.
For your online certification needs, check out the options at Promed.