To live your life as a physician isn’t a lighthearted decision; it involves commitment, enthusiasm, and immense determination and drive. Chances are your decision to become a physician was based upon a dream of serving humanity, balanced with a desire for steady career progress in an extremely rewarding field. Am I right?
Remember the early years of medical school, when getting up in the early hours to catch morning lectures was an easy feat, because the prospect of becoming an expert in the field allowed you to dream big?
But now, after years of pursuing your dreams and ambitions, you’ve lost your mojo, your energy, your passion. The need to keep up with the latest scientific advancements and to keep abreast of the changing landscape of healthcare, along with worries about the rising costs of healthcare delivery, have weighed you down. The shift in focus from practicing as a physician concerned with providing a valuable service centred around patient care to low-value work, such as sorting through paperwork, dealing with lengthy procedures, and defensive practice, has got you down.
So how is that once passionate and ambitious individual, who used to be so full of life, going to recover from such a slump and get back on his/her feet? Here are a few ways to help you on your way:
Recharge your batteries!
In the desire to serve others, you’ve forgotten about the need to serve yourself. Life as a physician is a demanding job, involving long hours and pressured working conditions, which are not ideal for relaxation, to say the least! Put yourself first by committing to clock off at a set hour every day, disengage from being a “physician,” and engage in being “you.”. Do something completely different, take up a hobby, or play a sport to relax and rejuvenate your mind.
Let’s not forget the crucial need for sleep. As a physician, you know better than anyone that sleep is a vital part of well-being, without which motivation will drop, along with your passion. The healthcare system is supposedly designed around patient care; the way you design your life should be focused on self-care, so that you’ll be able to fulfill the aim of serving patients with clarity and enthusiasm.
Visualize and reflect
Take an hour, or just half an hour, to kick back and relax, close your eyes, and visualize all those fond memories of yesteryear, when, as a young medical student, you were full of passion, desire, and ambition. Try to relive those moments and reconnect with those feelings. Think about why you chose the profession, what drove you—perhaps it was a personal dream or some other factor. Reignite those feelings, so that every day those memories become fonder as you reflect on your purpose and ambition. Get one step closer each day to reconnecting with that passion.
By visualizing in this way, you will slowly reconnect with your reasons for entering the profession, and your renewed desire to serve your patients with compassion and care will help you to avoid the firefight you face on a daily basis from the pressures of being a physician. The perfect way to boost the process of reconnecting and focusing is to reconnect with one of your old medical school friends—a perfect excuse for a coffee date! Sue Jacques of Physicians Practice explains how touching base with a blast from the past can be reenergizing and rejuvenating. Meet up and reminisce over the trials and triumphs of your time at medical school. This, she says, will help you to “remember the effort it took to accomplish your dream of being a physician and the feelings of success you have earned during your career.”
Keep triggering your passion
It’s all well and good to recharge, visualize, reflect, and reconnect, but make sure you don’t end the process there. To prevent being weighed down with the pressures of the everyday firefight faced by physicians, from tedious insurance paperwork to worries of liability, keep triggering your passion with reminders of why you’re in the profession and what drives and motivates you. This will keep you focused on the real value of healthcare: delivering compassionate, empathetic, and patient-focused care. Start a journal to reflect on your thoughts at the end of the day and/or create a scrapbook of all the fond memories and achievements to date. Surround yourself with passionate, caring, empathetic, and like-minded people—perhaps start a social media group on Facebook to reconnect with your old school friends, and post an update or a motivational quote every day, not only to keep yourself motivated, but also your old school mates.
Celebrate your success—you’ve come so far! Be proud of your achievements and let the world know how well you’ve done and what you’ve achieved. Celebrate the fact that you are focusing on your patients with compassion, empathy, and your passion about their care. By streamlining the pressures of paperwork, insurance issues, and all the other low-value procedural matters, you are excelling in providing value in healthcare delivery—this is an achievement in itself that needs to be rewarded! Treat yourself and your loved ones to a celebratory meal to recognize your achievement—you deserve it!
So what are you waiting for? Take that step and get your mojo back!
Let’s start the process together: think about what your biggest achievements have been and how you’re going to celebrate them—and please leave us a comment to let us know!