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How do you enjoy musac?

It’s Friday evening. Your customer, client or patient needs something. You’ve been trying to arrange it or get the necessary authorisation over the phone and now you’ve been put on hold listening to musac. You had advised this person in all good faith that what they need to make a decision will be here today. The minutes tick by and then the phone goes dead. The queue of people waiting is growing longer. A tired child is screaming somewhere nearby and you are already running late.

Over 54% of physicians report a loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. The number is up 10% from just three years ago. Who is to blame? If you ask many physicians, the fault lies among leaders involved in healthcare finance, policy and clinical administration. Sachin Jain

You can choose your reaction to the trial by phone on Friday evening. This scenario is not uncommon and as a doctor it won’t be the first or last time you will experience it. Yet each time it happens it may evoke the same negative emotions until you choose otherwise.

Picture by Clurross

Doctor heal thyself

The probability that anyone will get the flu this year is one in twenty or as high as one in five. You might wake up one morning with a sore throat and headache. You’ll notice that your muscles are aching and your nose is running. It may well be at a time when the office, ward or clinic where you work is busy. Others on your team or practice may be off sick. You may be covering for an absent colleague. What happens now?

A recent survey of more than 1,000 full-time employees shows that 38 percent of people say they still head into the office even when they feel like they might be contagious.

Apart from being contagious, if you are a healthcare professional how will you do your best work in these circumstances?

Picture by Melanie Hayes

What price do you pay?

Looking back it was the right decision for me. I decided to choose a different career the day I wiped mayonnaise off my tie. I didn’t want to have my meals on the run. The job wasn’t for me if the price was regularly having to eat out of a paper bag rushing around from place to place or sitting at my desk. Others felt differently. I had to make a choice that worked for me.

While 62 percent of doctors who were normal or underweight reported eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, the survey revealed that 44 percent of heavier doctors eat a diet high in carbs, meat and fat, or “on the go” meals. Just 16 percent of doctors who were considered overweight or obese were on a diet meant to help them lose weight or restrict calories. Life

Picture by Chris Blakeley.

Do you monitor your dashboard?

It is unlikely that you will arrive at work every morning energized, rested and looking forward to the day ahead. Last night the neighbour’s dog may have disturbed your sleep. You might spill your coffee as you rush to catch the train. You miss the train and as you run to the bus stop the rain starts and you realise you’ve have forgotten your umbrella. En route you might receive bad news or have an argument with your partner. Nonetheless you will have to get through the day and in healthcare that will mean giving those who seek your help your full attention notwithstanding how you feel. How do you prepare for that?

Jonathan has been refusing medication for diabetes for several months. His weight continues to climb. His blood pressure also warrants treatment as you have advised several times. Today he arrives unannounced to seek a prescription for steroids just in case his asthma becomes a problem over the weekend. He has a loud argument with the receptionist insisting that he has an appointment and besides he thinks his problem is urgent and he needs to see you now. He now looks sullen because he feels he has been spoken to disrespectfully.

It’s close to lunchtime and you are hungry. You have a headache and you are hoping to receive a text from your partner who finds out if his job interview was successful. What now?

Picture by Monja