What if we could do this particular thing differently in a way that meets both of our needs, even if that is supposedly not possible right now?

What other choices, options, or potential adjustments are out there?

If you have ever tried to advocate for yourself or others, please check out episode 33 of The MedEdWell Podcast to get encouraged.

Then get your work done faster with 10 tips from my free PDF guide, Maximize Your Clinical Efficiency! Click to get your guide NOW!

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Above are the episode show notes and below is the transcript. Some episode transcripts have been edited more than others, but they are up in the meantime to help those who would rather read and for searchability on the web. Extensive editing has not been prioritized as I seek to both produce regular content and maintain my own wellness. See the website disclaimer if you have questions, since this is all for your education and entertainment only. Enjoy!


What if we could do this particular thing differently in a way that meets both of our needs, even if that is supposedly not possible right now, what other choices, options, or potential adjustments are out there if you’ve ever tried to advocate for yourself or others around for the rest of today’s episode to get encouraged. Thank you so much for joining me here on episode 33 of the MedEdWell podcast. Thank you so much for listening, for sharing these episodes for subscribing and for all that you do. If you’re looking to increase your clinical efficiency and leave work at work, check out my free PDF guide, maximize your clinical efficiency, 10 tips for getting things done. Head on over to www.mededwell.com/efficiencyguide to get your copy today, today, we’ll be talking about advocating for change within medicine, covering four areas you want to address in these discussions using my experience in the past year as an example. But before we get to the rest of today’s episode, let’s hear from today’s sponsor.

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Culture involves the social structure, beliefs and customs of a group of people. It could be a family, a particular region, a people group, even an organization or company for culture to change, or at least your experience within that culture. There often has to be advocacy for yourself and for others, both at an individual and at a system level systems, issues and challenges are often common or inherent to the clinical practices or organizations. We are a part of even good or adequate things can often be made better or better suited to your needs based on your current priorities or season of life. Maybe it’s not just you, but something for you and your colleagues or you and your staff, something that needs to change. Maybe it would’ve happened anyways, but not as quickly.

Maybe it was technically possible, but the system or leadership wouldn’t do it without your advocacy. Today, we’re going to be talking about advocacy and change in medicine, looking at what you want, the context, what you bring and getting to the outcome. As we go through this, we’ll use my situation as an example. So first, what do you want? When I started right out of residency, I was split between two different clinics. I wanted one, but the system initially needed me split between two. I learned a lot and saw how things were done at different clinics, but I still deep down desire to be all at the one clinic. Then others started after me at the system and they even got to be part-time at the same clinic that I wanted to be at for all of my time. I started to think why not me? And I was almost four and a half years in at that point.

And I said, let’s see if we can make a change. So those of you who have listened to some of the prior episodes know that I had already been through burnout and gone from 1.0, to 0.85 in my FTE. But maybe for you, the change is your schedule, something around a call, the support staff scribe or something else for me, it wasn’t about decreasing my time. It was about unifying my clinical time. I wanted to be able to see patients back in two days, they had some urgent concern. I wanted to get to work with the same staff more, or get to know more of my colleagues and actually see them in clinics since I was there more days throughout the week. So this was my desire and my request. So first, what did I want? I, number two, the context. So what’s going on around the situation, who are the stakeholders?

What’s the scope of the change? How big of an impact does it have? How big of a change does it have in workflows or facility availability who has the power to make the change? Are there any other parameters, regulatory, or otherwise that are at play? I wanted to make a change in my clinical time and shift the clinics. One was closing, but then I received a call from a clinical leader saying, we need you actually to have some time at a third clinic. Could I be at just the one I asked? So we have urgent needs. I was told, and not at this time, it really seemed to be more of a courtesy call and not an opportunity for discussion. I wasn’t going to quit over this, but I asked, could we revisit this in four months? Sure. I was told. So I came out of this discussion with more leverage than I had going in.

Since I really didn’t have leverage or some sort of preparation going into this discussion, I took it. So you always have choices. And one of them could have been to change jobs even, but that’s not where I, I was at about four months passed and something came up. It was a natural time to revisit this discussion. And I came prepared. I came with data on my completed visits and at clinic number one, they were higher than at the other clinic. And this comes to the third thing. What do you bring? What value do you add to the situation? If you can bring data or verbiage that speaks in the language of the stakeholders or those with whom you are negotiating, it can really help your case. In my case, I knew that access for patients was important and actually providing that care, the number of completed visits, hence I came with visit data and I was told that there was still a need for my skills at that second clinic.

As we talked, I found out there was a new starting about four months later with similar skills. And I was told you can’t switch before that person starts. I had spoken about my goals in my leadership’s language, but still got a “No”, but all of these discussions were essentially negotiations. I was just coming off, having attended virtually a white coat investor conference in the spring of 2021. And I heard Dr. Linda street give a talk on negotiation skills. So my leadership said not right now to my request. This was different than just a straight, no, but then the fourth part that we’re going over today is getting to the outcome. Like I said, this was new negotiating. Looking back. I am so thankful. I heard Dr. Street’s lecture. So my phone call where I heard not now I then pivoted and asked, could we close my schedule when the new person starts and open my schedule at my preferred clinic and just do that a couple months in advance.

It would allow for that coverage that was requested and yet would give my patients the ability to schedule with me at the clinic that I really wanted to be at. Let me ask. I was told, so I waited bold yet professional patient yet persistent, trying to create a win-win. And I used the leverage and value that I brought to the situation. Leadership later followed up and approved the plan for another three or four months down the line. When the new person started, I ended up with more patients have been busier, but more fulfilled, able to connect with my patients and my team in a deeper way. So in this negotiation, I advocated for myself and looked at what I wanted, what the context and stakeholders were, what I brought to the situation and ultimately moved towards an outcome through negotiation. I chose to stay in the same job, but I advocated for myself in ways that showed there were multiple workable options.

I could have stayed where I was split between multiple clinics. My preferred was to be just at the one clinic. I could have further reduced my FTE, but that might have had other complications for me. I could have looked for another job for me, cutting my FTE or changing jobs weren’t actively considered. But yeah, there were still options, but saying nothing and doing nothing would not have moved me towards a change. So where does this leave? You imagine if you used these things in your own medical practice or in your own personal life, would you talk to your boss, your partners in the group, your significant other, whether it’s at work or outside, take opportunities to advocate, make the ask, be bold. Maybe it’s on your behalf or on behalf of colleagues, staff, patients, or someone else. Take that next step today. Thank you so much for joining me here on episode 33 of the MedEdWell podcast, please subscribe, share these episodes with colleagues and other physicians.

And if you haven’t done so please leave us a review. Check out my free guide on maximizing your clinical efficiency and check out a course from today’s sponsors, white coat investor. Those links will be in the show notes, come back and join me for the next episode. I want to thank you for all you do. I really want to encourage you to check out next week’s episode because there will be an important announcement. So don’t miss it again. Thanks for all you do care for yourself or others, your patients for your communities, what you do matters. Have a great day.