Clinical medicine is filled with a variety of situations, often ones that many of us experience as stressful.

The moments may come from failing to meet your patients’ expectations, advancing your medical career, or the desire to give and maintain quality service delivery. We should ensure that workplaces are sustainable places to work and live and go home to enjoy with our family. 

Whether your thoughts are holding you back or pushing you forward, sit back and reflect on the feelings you will need to keep you energized. Take the actions and get the desired results for your life, clinical practice, or patients. Once you are done with that, you need to single out the thought patterns you need to embrace. How will you show up and keep reminding yourself of that? What choices will you make? 

Tune in!

During this episode, you will learn about;

[00:00] Episode intro and what’s in for you in today’s episode

[03:04] Consequences come from our choices

[04:18] Opportunities for stress in medicine

[05:26] Stress and choices

[07:42] Quality metrics, expectations 

[08:42] The circumstances don’t need to change, but the choice of your thoughts 

[10:31] How you can effectively face challenging circumstances 

[13:00] No matter what’s going on, you have a choice of your happiness and peace

[15:06] Wrap-up and calls to action

Notable Quotes 

  • The thoughts about the demands of a profession are the one that creates stress.
  • The circumstances may not need need to change, but the choice of your thoughts.

Do you want to get home sooner from the clinic or hospital? With all your notes and charting done, too? Get your FREE PDF guide with 10 tips to maximize your clinical efficiency!

Let’s Connect 

Dr. Ryan Stegink (Host) 


Get Coaching with Dr. Stegink:





Above are the episode show notes and below is the transcript via 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!


Dr. Ryan Stegink (00:01):
Does charting in medicine seem overwhelming the queue of messages, labs, patient calls that never seems to get smaller. The pile of preauthorizations awaiting your input, the tens or hundreds of charts that you still have to finish and sign it’s exhausting, right? And still all you want is to be able to go home with your work done, to be able to spend time with family, hang out with friends, practice, self care. I want to invite you to join me for a six week long coaching program, charting mastery, where you will get equipped with the skills and approach that you need to get home sooner and leave that work at work, to check out more info and to join the wait list, head over to charting You will be among the first to hear when the door is open so that you can join me on this journey.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (01:12):
There will be opportunities to reflect and earn CME after the different sessions as well. And now onto today’s show. Welcome to the MedEd well podcast, empowering physicians to get work done at work, and then be able to reflect and choose what is important for both their life and medical practice. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegen general pediatrician and life coach for physicians. Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of the med well podcast, where physicians come to be encouraged and equipped to take the next step in their own wellness journey. Thank you so much for subscribing and sharing these episodes and engaging with these concepts. I’ve been so excited to share so many wonderful guest episodes, hearing the stories of physicians who have been doing amazing things to help their patients and colleagues and clients. I really want you to know that this show is for you.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (02:23):
I get a lot out of it from getting to prepare these episodes, but I want these to be relevant for you. So if you like having a mix of both guests and solo shows, if you have ideas of topics you’d like to hear covered, if you want to be a guest yourself and have something you’d like to share, you can apply at a link that I’ll, I’ll put in the show notes, but I am just so thankful for each of you stepping up and taking that next step in your wellness and encouraging others. So today we’re gonna be talking about how there are always available choices, whether it’s in medicine or in life, you don’t have to do almost anything. Sure. There’s consequences, but there’s a choice. Maybe it’s you think there’s, you have to pay taxes. You don’t have to pay taxes, but there will be consequences.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (03:28):
And it’s easy to think that when we say we don’t have choices, that’s a thought because we think that our circumstances are causing our feelings. We don’t have any power over how our feeling is in those situations, how that shows up and how we experience that emotion, that energy in our bodies. And so really it’s about realizing that if you didn’t know about certain things, something bad happened, somebody broke into your home. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t have a perhaps negative emotion about it, cuz you wouldn’t know about it. Same type of thing with things in medicine, maybe it’s the number of patients on your schedule. That’s neither a lot nor a little till you have a thought about it. Because someone might say as a resident, I would’ve said 10 patients on my schedule is a lot someone who sees 20 or 40 patients a day might say that the half day of patients at 10 or 12, that’s really not very much.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (04:49):
It’s all about your thoughts and your perspective could be, yeah, the workload could be social determinants of health that your patients come to you with. And just the challenges that they face. Maybe it’s things that they bring with them. The number of questions and concerns, medical problems, these things, they don’t make us stressed. But it’s the thoughts that we have about these things, about it being overwhelming or it being really hard. And many times we wanna feel this way, but it’s about choosing and recognizing that. So the number of patients on the schedule, that’s just a circumstance, the no-show policy or lack thereof, also the circumstance, maybe it’s your quality or productivity expectations by itself. It’s neutral though. You might not want to acknowledge that. You might wanna argue that with me as I have too on many occasions, those thoughts are what cause us to think that these things aren’t neutral.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (06:09):
Cause someone else could have a different thought. Maybe looking at the number of patients on the schedule. I might think it’s too many or just right. Someone with administration or finance might say, oh, we need to have this many on there to make it profitable for our clinic. Again, different perspectives, different thoughts, same neutral circumstance. Maybe it’s your NoShow policy. Maybe it’s 10 minutes. Maybe it’s 20 minutes. Maybe it’s open ended. And there’s not a NoShow policy physicians. Nurse practitioners might say, there should be one or it should be more strict or families might say, we appreciate that. You’re able to get us in. Even if we’re running late, other families might say I’m able to be on time and other people are late. And why am I penalized? Because the whole clinic is running behind. Again, it’s different perspectives, different thoughts. Leadership might be prioritizing access and saying, we wanna get as many patients as possible to be able to see their doctor or other nurse practitioner or PA.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (07:32):
So the nohow policy itself is neutral just as is the number of patients on the schedule. Maybe for you. It’s more about the quality and productivity, maybe for the quality measures. There’s researchers who are looking at it, a standpoint of what discrete data can we collect, but these are really important. And maybe you as a clinician have a different thought about that because there’s just one more box to click and you just wanna take good care of your patients. So I’m gonna take a moment to pause and give you a moment to take a deep breath. Because many of these things you may have noticed that you’re tensing up, that you have a visceral response to how you’ve experienced these things in the past.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (08:28):
It’s because of the thoughts that you’re having these feelings of feeling trapped, stressed, having a loss of control are caused by our thoughts, not the circumstances. It’s not to say that some of these circumstances don’t need to change, but even as you’re working to affect that change, you can still have a different experience. It can be empowering, being able to take back some agency and control of your experience of the situation. It allows you to be more aware of the thoughts that you are having. And then maybe you can consider or choose a different thought maybe intentionally to get that different feeling. Even if the circumstance hasn’t changed and depending on what this circumstance, this objective neutral thing that any two people could say, yep, that’s what it is. And they could have different thoughts about it. I really want you to hear that this is not saying that burnout it’s about changing your thoughts and your experience and that it’s your fault because there are still systems issues.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (09:58):
There’s moral injury and it’s real. And even though some of these things are circumstances, we can still choose to say, I’m gonna have a thought about it. That it’s not good for patients. It’s not good for other physicians. It’s not good for my teams. It’s just acknowledging that those are thoughts and beliefs that you have about how things need to be. And maybe when you face some of these circumstances going forward, maybe your intentional thought is gonna be, I’m going to help change this. Maybe even it’s I can find another job if this is not going to change, but it still gives you choices. And rather than the natural easy response of, I feel trapped, I feel stressed when I’m facing this particular circumstance. My schedule, my notes that I have, the challenges that my patients bring to me, you can say, what do I want to feel? What thoughts will I need to think in order to feel this way?

Dr. Ryan Stegink (11:29):
What thought and feeling will, I need to have to take the actions to get the results, to bring that change that I know is needed? What kind of feelings would you have in those situations? Would it be acting out of a sense of empowerment of confidence of boldness of saying this is really important. These are the thoughts. These are the beliefs. These are things that matter to me. And each of us has different things that we can really speak into to help change the culture of medicine so that we can care both for ourselves, for our teams, for our patients, so that these are sustainable places for each of us to work and to live. Because I want you to be able to go home with all your work done, to be able to go home and be present, to be able to look at the people you care about and say, I’m fully present with you. I’m choosing to be here with you right now, because I want to, because no matter what else is going on, this is important to me. Even in the midst of things that we otherwise think are challenging. We can choose to say I had some things that were uncomfortable. Some things that were hard, some things that I chose to be sad about because I wanna feel sad when this mom tells me that she’s depressed or someone says, yeah, I had a miscarriage before I had this baby.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (13:43):
It’s an opportunity for human connection. When then I can say, I want to engage with them and say, I’ve been through two miscarriages with my wife as well. And those are opportunities to say, I want to think this, I want to feel this and empathy of saying these thoughts about the situation are painful. These thoughts maybe are holding me back. These thoughts are helping me move forward. So wherever you are and wherever you want to go, I want you to take a moment to sit back and reflect on what feelings you’ll need to take the actions to get the results that you want for your life, for your clinical practice, for your patients.

Dr. Ryan Stegink (14:48):
But then going back from that feeling that you want to have, what thoughts are you gonna need to think? How are you gonna need to show up and keep reminding yourself of these things? How there’s always choices. Thank you so much for joining me here on another episode of the MedEd well podcast. I can’t wait to hear about how you have implemented some of these things and reminded yourself and others about how you can choose what thoughts you wanna hold onto and how that makes a difference for your life. Thank you so much for all you do and have a great day. And now for our important disclaimer, Dr. Ryan Stegen is a practicing general pediatrician, but the MedEd, well podcast does not reflective views, opinions or belief of his employer nor his affiliated university. Additionally, the MedEd well podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered advice regarding financial legal student loan, medical, or any other specific topic. In such a case, you should see consultation with certified professional in that particular area. Again, thanks for joining us on the MedEd well podcast and have a great day.