How do I balance my home life with physician life?
I really want to do a research study. How do I start?
How do I get involved in my specialties society?
I am overwhelmed with clinical duties. How do I negotiate for nonclinical time?
My manuscript was rejected. What should I do next?
I had a bad clinical outcome, and I can’t seem to recover. How do I move forward?
Joining this committee will be a time effort. Will it help me toward promotion?
How do I show my department chair I am a leader?
These are a few of the questions I am often asked by junior physicians, or even peer physicians. I thought I’d share with you some the top 10 pearls I share with others, as you may find something helpful.
1. Give your family your best. Give your work the rest.
2. Take a vacation every three months. Especially in the first few years. Trust me. Time away = burnout prevention.
3. Watch out for financial incentive traps. Extra call, selling your vacation weeks, working extra shifts may be very appealing in the beginning; but you cannot put a price tag on protecting your well-being and remaining joyful in medicine.
4. Say yes to things early in your career, which will earn you the right to say “no, thank you” later.
5. Say yes to things that fall within your primary focus; the enemy of productivity is a distraction.
6. Make your clinical work count twice; quality, safety, research and education projects are much easier accomplished if in line with your clinical work.
7. When you fail, ask for feedback from people smarter than you; this allows you to fail forward.
8. Connect with colleagues; they will be your lifelines when hard times come. We are in the business of humanity; hard times exist.
9. Early in your career, say yes to things that will 1) put you on a stage; 2) put your name in print; and, 3) put you on national committees. Say no to things that require time but do not result in any of these things.
10. Routinely connect with your chair or direct report. Do not assume she/he knows what you are working on or what you hope to achieve. Face to face time is invaluable.
Sasha K. Shillcutt is an anesthesiologist who blogs at Brave Enough.
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