Lancaster Physician Winter 2020 - 21

WINTER 2020

who do not have a background in law, much
of the content may seem to be in a foreign
language. Your attorney will likely identify areas
in your contract that you didn't see and help
you understand what you are agreeing to for
the next two to three years. Your lawyer can also
help you negotiate the terms of your contract
prior to signing. Well worth the investment!

drugs, etc. Medical training and practice is very
stressful, and without correction, these habits
can follow you into your career. It is common
for humans to want to self sooth and/or numb
our feelings. Often the easiest ways to get that
dopamine rush is to do some kind of illicit or
risky activity, binge eat, or watch TV for the
entire weekend, etc.

Establish with a PCP.
This one can be especially challenging for
physicians because many of us have professional
and/or personal relationships with the available
physicians in our region. Sometimes, this deters
us from establishing with a physician ourselves.
It is OK if you do not feel comfortable going
to a physician with whom you work on a
daily basis, but we need to "practice what
we preach." We must take care of ourselves
with preventive services, treatment of acute
issues, and maintenance of chronic disease.

Try to instead develop other hobbies that
do not involve potentially self-destructive
behaviors. Were you a musician in high
school or college? Dust off your instrument
and play some scales or a song or two. Are
you a singer? Join a community choir. Do
you enjoy physical activity? Join a rec league.
There are also other hobbies that will allow
you to access your creative side, like wood
working, knitting, crafting, baking, etc. The
possibilities are endless.

Please avoid the temptation to be your own
physician, order your own lab work, or prescribe yourself medication. Find someone
who you trust to be your physician, even if it
means going outside the network of doctors
in your area.
Consider establishing with a therapist.
In addition to caring for physical health,
we need focus on our mental health, too.
We cannot treat patients or be there for our
own loved ones if we ignore our mental
health. I started seeing a therapist intermittently beginning in medical school, and I
continued seeing a therapist through residency, fellowship, and now as an attending.
Working with a therapist on a regular basis
has allowed me to understand myself in ways
I wouldn't have been able to understand on
my own. The work that I have done and continue to do in therapy has made me a better
physician, wife, daughter, friend, and overall
human being. I recommend giving it a try if
you want to become the best version of yourself.
Foster your (healthy) hobbies.
If your medical school class was anything
like mine, there were some self-destructive
hobbies that occurred on a regular basis. A
few examples-drinking in excess after exams,
using attention enhancing drugs or other illicit

Make it a point to do something in your
spare time that you have to develop, especially
a hobby unrelated to the medical field. You
likely will be happier and healthier for it. Plus,
hobbies are a great conversation piece when
participating in interviews and connecting
with your future colleagues.
Dedicate time to self-care.
The term "self-care" is very prominent right
now, and you may be sick of hearing about it.
Even if you are, the concept is important, and
imperative to help prevent burnout. Self-care
helps you become and maintain the healthiest
version of yourself. There are six identified
self-care domains:
PHYSICAL
getting regular physical activity, eating
healthfully, getting enough sleep
PHYSIOLOGICAL
self-reflection, mindfulness practice,
journaling, and participating in therapy
EMOTIONAL
practicing self-compassion, self-love,
forgiveness, and gratitude
SPIRITUAL
belonging to a faith community, spending time
in nature, and observing beauty in the world

LANCASTER

21

PHYSICIAN

PROFESSIONAL
dedicating time for lunch or other meals,
taking time off, leaving work at work, and
setting professional boundaries
PERSONAL
making short- and long-term goals, fostering
friendships and family relationships, and
learning who you really are

It is unrealistic to think that you will be
able to practice all six self-care domains on a
daily basis, but choosing at least one to two
practices a day, even if it is for 10 minutes only,
can make a difference.
Invest in your support network.
This can also be a part of self-care! We did
not get to where we are alone, and we are not
able to have successful careers in a vacuum.
Make an effort to spend time with your
friends and loved ones. As adults with very
busy lives, it is often most helpful to set a date
on the calendar a month or two in advance to
ensure that you will keep the commitment to
see friends and family.
Get to know your colleagues-
and be kind.
Developing professional relationships is also
very helpful. People are statistically happier
when they have these types of relationships
with their colleagues. Learn the names of the
people with whom you work, including the
nurses, aids, environmental staff, volunteers etc.
Be kind; be friendly. You never know where
someone has been, what story they have, and
what led them to where they are today. No
one is better than anyone else, regardless of
title. We all play an important part in health
care. Ultimately, we are all humans who need
one another. As a physician, you can set this
example, and others are more likely to follow
it with you leading the way.
Finally, becoming an attending is full of
new challenges, new adventures, and continual learning each and every day. Never stop
learning; never stop growing. Ask for help when
needed, help others when they need you, and
try to be grateful for at least one thing every
single day.



Lancaster Physician Winter 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/LPSummer2018
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/Lancaster_Physician/Fall2017
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