If you’re just starting out as a doctor, here are 5 top tips for new doctors to help manage your exciting but challenging new career.
The rush (and relief!) of finishing med school is often lost in the reality of jumping almost straight into your first job as a doctor in either a clinic or hospital ward. And that reality for many new doctors is applying the immense teachings you’ve been accumulating during your studies in a highly pressurised setting where the need to perform well feels paramount.
While this is also the case with many other graduates going into new professional roles, there is an added degree of pressure and expectation for medical professionals given they are being entrusted with the health and wellbeing of so many people. Despite this, there are ways to approach your new doctor role and manage the pressure to ensure you are at your best.
Here are our top 5 tips for new doctors.
1. Communication is critical
The term ‘bedside manner’ may seem a little old-school, particularly in a much busier world where doctors are sometimes looking at back-to-back short appointments with little time for a pleasant chat with patients.
And on those particularly gruelling days where your stress levels are up and the walls of your consulting room feel like they’re closing in on you, your own blood pressure may rise as you watch your schedule get pushed further and further out and the 8-hour day starts to look that much longer.
As much as possible, try and push back against the desire to make up time by being overly quick and curt. Listen as carefully as you can and keep up that professional, polite warmth when you communicate with both patients and, just as importantly, colleagues.
And don’t be scared to show a little of your human side to patients when you are feeling the pressure – you might be surprised at how this is received with concern and uplifting words at how good a job you’re doing.
2. Be realistic and stay honest
By this we mean that while you should strive to be the best you can, don’t lose sight of the fact that you still have the ‘L’ plates on and are learning the practical ropes as a new doctor.
This means you need to be willing to admit you don’t always have the answers and will have to consult with others in your practice or look over clinical references to get the best outcome for your patient.
By being realistic and honest with patients about this you’re not damaging your credibility or the profession. You’re showing you are human with limitations, rather than some massive repository for all-things medical.
3. Always strive to do your best and be better
Sure, that sounds like some advertisement and is maybe a truism as you would expect any professional, new or established, to work to this mantra. But as a new doctor, you have the chance to accumulate a lot of knowledge from both your colleagues and patients alike to further inform your practice and how you evolve.
So, listen carefully to feedback and the input you receive in your day-to-day life while avoiding taking things personally. Remember – learning from mistakes rather than getting hung up on not being perfect is far more beneficial in the long run.
4. Remember – you’re not alone
While you may be one-on-one all day with your patients, you are part of a team. From other doctors, nurses, frontline staff and management, the entire clinic or ward you’re a part of has a singular duty and goal to offer the best patient-care possible.
As you settle into your new doctor role, carefully build relationships with your colleagues, both professionally and personally.
Being a doctor can be a tough job at times, so taking time out to talk about stuff not related to work can help form strong connections that flow through to better professional relationships and a more cohesive team offering care to patients.
5. Practice self-care
The hustle and bustle of life as a new (and not-so-new) doctor, and the busy professional life that comes with it means work-life balance can be difficult to achieve. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to do what you can to practice self-care both at work and outside of it.
These can be simple things like wearing comfortable shoes and clothing at work, always finding time to take a meal break no matter how short and ducking out for two minutes to sneak in a breath of fresh air and sunshine or a coffee.
It also means not getting into the habit of taking on too much overtime (although, of course, some will always be necessary,) or going into the practice every weekend to catch up on admin.
Also ensure you have your own trusted doctor or other health professionals to consult as you need – you’re a human who needs care just like anyone else!
And as much as possible maintain your personal relationships outside of work because these will be what help you get through more difficult patches, so indulge yourself in social activity where you can completely switch off from work and keep up those great friendships.
Gorilla Jobs Can Help
We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!