Below are the episode show notes and 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. Enjoy!

Show Notes

I can’t do this on my own, providing great medical care…

You can’t either…It’s a team thing!

And yet, physicians and other medical professionals sometimes need reminders for how to best function within teams.

Check out the rest of this episode for tips about enhancing your interprofessional collaboration, regardless of whether you are in medical school or graduated from residency years ago!

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

Today’s Sponsor: a consult on your loans today!


It’s your first day on a new rotation, a new clinical service or a new job, whether med school, residency, or beyond. We have all joined new teams where we need to get up to speed quickly. And this is where a good team can help you. If you let them teamwork requires cultivation. So whether you are starting something new or in the same position, stay tuned to hear more about the building engagement with the staff on your clinical team.

Welcome to the MedEdWell podcast, where physicians get empowered to take the next step in their wellness, personally, professionally, and financially. I’m your host, Dr. Ryan Stegink, a practicing general pediatrician and online entrepreneur.

Thank you so much for joining me here on episode 23 of the MedEdWell podcast. Thank you so much for listening, for reviewing and for sharing these episodes with other physicians in your life. Thank you also for subscribing so important to be able to get those new episodes, to be able to support your wellness. Quick announcement I am actually moving podcast hosts at the end of 2021. It’ll be the same name, the same schedule, but a different feed just available on the same platforms.

What does this mean for you? It means you may need to resubscribe search in your podcast player and then make sure you subscribe so that you’re getting the new episodes. Otherwise you might just see the episodes through the end of 2020, where did Ryan go? This will give increased flexibility in being able to embed episodes in the website and to be able to increase the reach by having it available on other platforms. I just wanna give you a quick overview of the what and the why, and feel free to reach out to me via email or on Instagram. And I’ll be happy to chat more, look forward to having you all continue to join me as we advance wellness together. So today we’re gonna be talking about building into your clinical team. What staff want you to know as a physician or other member of the clinical team, whether you’re new to the team or not.

Before we get into the rest of today’s episode, let’s hear about today’s sponsor. Today’s episode is supported by They provide counseling and guidance as a consult service. Things can get complicated looking at your situation. If you have a spouse, you just have questions about what plan should I be on? Should I refinance? Should I consolidate what are my public service loan, forgiveness options? You have those questions. Check out the link in the show notes to book a consult today. All right now, back to today’s show.

So I was in one of my first weeks of residency, going to my continuity clinic. I had a checklist of people. I had to meet questions to ask workflows, to learn more about, I met the social worker and she took me around to introduce me to others and explained some of the resources available at our clinic.

I really appreciated her care in helping me jump into the new clinical team. I had similar experiences joining other high acuity teams, whether it was the intensive care unit or the hematology oncology service. I had to seek out some of that help or input, but it was really helpful in feeling part of the team. As people came around me, it required communication, professionalism and intentionality. You’ve hopefully had some good experiences like these, even as others may have been difficult for isolating, but as we look to the future, let’s examine four ways to build engagement with your staff, that positive team culture that we all want. These things came from input. I got from frontline staff, actually working with clinical teams, students, residents, physicians, and other professionals. So the first way to build team culture and engagement is to talk to them, talk to your staff.

They told me we are real people. Talk to us, be kind, introduce yourself. My mom told me when I started medical school, my mom’s a nurse. She said, when you come to a unit ask where there’s an available computer or chair. No, just assume that just because this one’s currently unoccupied, that you can sit there and it’s just showing a certain amount of, uh, respect and consideration for others. It’s also important. If you can learn their names on that really helpful and talked about that a little bit in episode 11. So not only talking to them, but number two, listen to your staff. Don’t blow them off value their input. If they call you and say, Hey, I’m concerned about this patient. Hear them out, probably go see the patient. They can really help you get up to speed faster. Especially with rotations on a new unit.

They might say, typically, when this happens, you do this and you might even ask them, Hey, in these type of situations, what do you guys typically do? If you show them this consideration that you’re willing to listen. Sometimes they may even batch requests that aren’t as urgent, that maybe you can actually rest a little bit on call. They could totally call you for every little thing, but sometimes they’re more willing to work with you. If you’re willing to listen to them, no one likes getting blown off or disrespected and feeling heard can make others feel respected. Like they’re really part of the team. It helps their wellness, your professionalism. It may help them speak up when you need them to, whether it’s a status change for a patient or an error. You’re about to make that they ask a good question and you’re able to make a better decision.

They can really help you out. So number one, talk to your staff. Number two, listen to them. Number three, keep checking in again. We talked about intentionality and communication. So part of this, I, I encourage my staff, especially if they’re new to the profession, whether nursing medical assistant in my, my clinic, or maybe they’re new to the organization, I encourage them to speak up to call or page me. And to confirm that I actually want the order that may be confusing to them, could save me an error, or it could be a teaching point as say, well, this may not be common, but in this situation, I would do it this way because of whatever the case may be. It’s also important to communicate about workflows and your preferences. There may be unit or clinic protocols, and there may be a range of what’s reasonable, but be kind and professional in explaining, Hey, actually I prefer to do it this way, or I’d rather room the patient first and then do that or go ahead and get this lab before I come in.

Also, if you change something, if you add another order, try to let them know this is important. Whether you’re in the hospital or in the clinic setting for me adding labs, after I’ve already signed the initial orders in clinic, I try and go find my staff and they’re trying to be efficient too. And so if I order extra labs that may require another tube of blood, they need to know which tubes to draw. There may be a different vaccine that the patient said they want, or maybe that they don’t want. And sometimes on the inpatient side, this matters too, because if I add orders for new cultures overnight, uh, changes to drips that they’re on any number of other things. It’s just courteous to communicate. To first, it’s important to talk to your staff. Number two, to listen to them. Number three, keep checking in that communication piece.

And number four, building engagement is definitely helped by thanking them, whether it’s a verbal, thank you in the moment, something at the end of the shift where you say great job, we had a really hard day, but you worked hard. And I noticed, thanks. It may be that you give them kudos or send an email to their manager, thanking them in front of their peers in front of patients. These things all matter to being engaged, making them feel part of the team. They’re valuable. Maybe especially as an attending, you’re able to chip in or buy meals or treats when you can, maybe that you go in, in with your colleagues and say, Hey, things have been really hard and you guys are all working really hard. We appreciate you. It might look different. You might make something and bring it in. You might just take those opportunities to show your gratitude.

Teamwork is an ongoing thing that needs to be cultivated that flourishing in medicines, not just for physicians, also for all the other staff and medical professionals and other people who work in building or hospital, there’s those four ways to build engagement with your staff, talking to them, listening to them, continuing to check in and to thank them. As you reflect on teams, that you’ve been a part of, whether it’s in training or after which of these have been good experiences for you. Have you done some of these things already? I want you to imagine if you decided this week to focus on even just one of these areas, how might that change things for you, for your staff? Would you have more efficient workflows, fewer errors, less turnover, maybe staff and physicians would enjoy their jobs. More many areas of wellness are impacted by those around us. So be intentional and take your next step for the wellness of both you and your staff.

Thank you so much for joining me here. Another episode of the MedEdWell podcast, please subscribe, share, and review this podcast and remember to check your podcast player in the coming weeks and resubscribe as we’re changing hosting services. The whole goal here is to continue to advance physician wellness, to help as many people as possible. Thank you so much for all you do. Please come back and join. Join me on another episode, have a great day.