Physicians do great work every day. I know and work with many extraordinary healers, and I see their dedication and diligence firsthand. And yet, so many of us (yes, I am a physician, too!) are so busy caring for our patients and our own families that we have little time to reflect on our own accomplishments. Fortunately, we have Doctors Day—today, March 30—as an opportunity to take a breather and consider what we do well…and what we might do better.
Here are a few of my suggestions for physicians and other healthcare professionals who support them.
- Take a moment to pause and think about all the good you have done over the course of your career. The lives saved, the lives improved, the care you gave to patients even when you couldn’t cure them.
- Remember the “big picture” when the frustrations of the healthcare environment start to close in on you. Healing and helping others is a calling, and the good work you do makes up for the headaches that come with practicing medicine.
- Remember that we have limitations. Make sure that you realize and accept your own.
- Spend time with your family. They are also important, and time passes much too quickly. Don’t work your life away.
- Take care of your own health. The phrase “Physician, heal thyself” came about for a reason. I didn’t appreciate the wisdom of this advice until my own health began to suffer.
- Remember to practice kindness, empathy, and gratitude with patients, staff, and everyone around you. It’s the only way you will ever be happy.
For doctor supporters:
- Take a moment to think about how the doctors you know have helped patients. Chances are a physician has made a huge impact on your life and on the lives of people you love.
- Thank them for their work. Doctors don’t always hear those two little words—thank you—and when they do, it truly means a lot.
- Manage up doctors with patients. This will show that we are all on the same team.
- Do whatever you can to make a doctor’s day easier. Be as efficient as possible with reports and other information you provide them. In the end, this will benefit patients, too.
- Remember that treating doctors with kindness, empathy, and gratitude will enhance your own happiness and the quality of the environment you work in.
Of course, you probably have your own ideas to add to the list. Just please do something for yourself or a physician you care about to commemorate this special occasion. Thanks to all of you who work so hard to provide exceptional care every day.
Barbara Loeb, MD