“It is a conscious effort. When a patient asks about my family, I’ll smile and say, ‘Thank you for asking. Everyone is doing great’—even if that’s not the case. Divulging details about a family issue is a slippery slope and [may] take time away from the patient’s time. Therefore, I turn the conversation back to them.”
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Explore This IssueDecember 2017
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Dr. Tsai says having supportive family and friends is key to providing the best care possible to her patients. “Sharing and relaxing with family and friends ease stress,” she says. “Having this support outside work also helps prevent burnout.”
Dr. Schiopu identifies several strategies that help her maintain peak performance levels. “Getting a good night’s sleep is very important, as is staying well hydrated and having a healthy snack in between seeing patients,” Dr. Schiopu says. “I always wear comfortable shoes, [because] I run around quite a bit.”
“Maintaining a healthy diet and regular sleep routine are non-negotiable,” Dr. Tsai says. She adds that quality time with family and friends has been critical in helping her recharge for work. “Scheduling weekly fun time, such as kayaking, hiking, volunteering or exercising, has kept me healthy and happy, and able to work to my full potential.”
Dr. Schiopu says, “Giving back to the rheumatology field by mentoring and volunteering helps me feel like I’m making a difference, which lifts my spirits and helps me stay positive.” This helps her reach her optimum performance levels.
Dr. Tsai’s employer has started requiring a mandatory yearly wellness day off for employees to ensure they address wellness—which Dr. Tsai commends. The intent is for the employee to focus on addressing personal wellness away from the office, enabling them to schedule doctors’ appointments and exercise.
Another tip: Dr. Schiopu recommends inserting clinic breaks into the schedule by alternating established patients who may take less time, with newer or more complex patients who may have a lot of questions. “This typically ensures that patient appointments stay on time and that I can have occasional breaks,” she says.
Dr. Schiopu also advises taking at least two weeks of vacation at a time to truly disconnect from the demands of a busy clinic. Plus, spend at least one night a week with your spouse and devote some weekends to family time. During conferences, plan time to do something you’ll enjoy, such as shopping or visiting a museum.
Making a conscious effort to avoid distractions, not dwell on personal matters and keep your mind and body at peak performance should help you remain sharp and ready for whatever comes your way during the workday.