Is your day to day patient interaction too intense?

By Marama Montgomery
Medical Jobs - GP

It is difficult when you are a GP not to become a People Pleaser.

We all know the, I will just do “one more thing” syndrome… one more phone call, one more patient, one more referral, one more bit of research, one more meeting….. the list is endless

It’s hard when your patients with their complex physical or mental conditions constantly need addressing and are always on your mind.

But what about you? Who looks after your wellbeing?

Many General Practitioners find themselves on this slippery slope, before you know it you’ve burnt yourself out trying to be “all things to everyone”.  Being a doctor means having intense human interactions and learning about people secrets and difficulties, which vary, often vastly from patient to patient. No day is ever the same

It is very easy to get caught up in work, easy to put your own needs aside.

I am guessing, like most people that you wake up in the morning and pretty much “hit the ground running” – there is always something on your home life list and the list just keeps expanding. Pile on top of that the obligations and demands you have for your patients – leaving very little time for you. No matter how hard you try to get ahead of the Curve…. Stuff just keeps piling up.

If you fly on commercial airlines, you would have heard this statement “If an oxygen mask drops down from above, put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting others” from your flight attendants many times. Instructing you, as a priority to take care of your own safety first, to enable you to help someone else.

So how do you achieve this in your hectic lives?

Here are some self-care ideas to help you put yourself first for a change:

  1. Make time for exercise, Don’t make the excuse that you are too tired or too busy. You know from your own studies to become a Doctor that exercise contributes to a healthy mind, body and spirit.
  2. Get a massage, a massage therapist can work out all the built up tension in your body, which will allow you to release any stored anxiety or emotional pain. As a General Practitioner you take on so much baggage from what patients confide in you, don’t let it build up, get a regular massage.
  3. Learn to say NO, this is particularly hard for people pleasers and as a General Practitioner you try to please all your patients. But if you practice saying NO, it becomes easier.

Your patients DO NOT need to see you for 5-6 medical conditions at once and delay all the patients after them, you are perfectly entitled to say, “please come back and see me tomorrow or next week”, if the condition does not need urgent attention. Some patients are very good at leaving the MOST important reason, they came to see till the last thing that they mention. Try and learn to manage this is in the appointment with them.

You will feel more in control of your time, more confident in yourself and more relaxed that you are staying “on time” with your next patient bookings and actually getting your lunch break.

  1. Let go of perfectionism, allow yourself to be perfectly imperfect. Let go of your perceived definition of perfect. You will never be satisfied, so try to let it go.
  2. Reassess your priorities, Spinning your wheels with trying to get everything done and Busy-ness will distract you, making everything seem like a priority. Stop, plan and ascertain what is most important to you in your work and home life.
  3. Amend your Diet, As a Doctor you are probably constantly advising your patients to maintain better health by eating better. This is also imperative for you to stay on top of your game and cope with the intensity of your day to day role. One small change could make all the difference to how your feel about yourself mentally and physically.
  4. Practice Meditation, Hands down meditation is one of the best self-care habits you can practice. Not only does it improves memory and sleep it also reduces stress and anxiety. Try it even for just 3-10minutes a day
  5. Take a daily walk, try not to catch up on patient paperwork and notes during your lunch, be disciplined, get out in the fresh air even to just walk around the block. Alternatively, before or after work – take a walk in nature or along the beach. Being in natures soothes the soul.

Try not to use the excuse of being stuck in a city, go to the Botanical Gardens or even a garden centre to take time to appreciate the beauty.

  1. Enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine and a good book, Go on curl up in a comfy chair and enjoy without any other distractions. Leave your device somewhere else and just take time to breathe and chill your body and mind for an hour.
  2. Work on your personal growth as well as your professional growth, now I know your medical and logical mind is saying “Pfft, what a load of airy fairy”, however being proactive in exploring your inner workings and being open to new ways to evolve and grow as a person. The more self aware you are, the more content and less stressed and happier you will be.
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Healthcare Industry Knowledge, Uncategorized

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