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!
What are you doing? What are you supposed to be doing? What expectations do you face daily in medicine? At home? From yourself?
Check out this episode to hear more about expectations and how you can better manage them both inside and outside of medicine!
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What are you doing? What are you supposed to be doing? What expectations do you face daily in medicine, at home from yourself, stick around to hear more about expectations and how you can better manage them both inside and outside of medicine.
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 for joining me here on this the 20th episode of the MedEdWell podcast. Thank you so much for listening, for sharing this with other physicians, for leaving a review today, we’re gonna be talking about four ways. We all face expectations. Two of them in medicine and two of them outside of medicine.
But before we get into today’s episode, let’s hear from today’s sponsor. This episode is brought to you by Dr. Jimmy Turner’s book, the physician’s philosophers guide to personal finance. The 20% of personal finance doctors need to know to get 80% of the results. Dr. Turner gives a great description saying in medical training, our job is to hone our craft by learning and practicing the best possible medicine for our patients. Unfortunately, medical training, isn’t free. If you’re ready to learn how to effectively pay down your student loans, invest efficiently and achieve financial freedom early in your career. And this book is for you. Check out the link in the show notes. All right now, back to today’s show.
So growing up, my family went on car trips, more specifically, van trips with the car top carrier, the bikes off the back, the tent, everything. I have great memories of those times, including stories like the tent blowing down the hill at Rocky mountain national park, going to Yellowstone in the grand Tetons, even ending up at the Mount Rushmore Memorial on the 4th of July, even losing my shoe on one particular picnic and becoming a family legend. Those of you on my email list, heard the full lost shoe saga the week before this episode airs. So if you don’t wanna miss out or you want my free PDF guide with tips to help your clinical workflows so that you can get home faster, head over to mededwell.com/efficiencyguide.
So like I was saying hard trips and what does every kid say? Are we there yet? It’s all about expectations. What you think should be happening versus what is happening. Like I said, ed, today, we’re gonna cover four areas of these expectations, two within medicine and two of them outside of medicine. So first in medicine with regards to patients, so you, as their doctor, they’re coming to you as an expert, they’re expecting you to help them to feel better, to get a diagnosis, to cure them any number of other things. Some of this can be related to the paternalism that has pervaded medicine in the past. A mantra of doctor knows best, but it’s still there. Even with patient-centered care. These may or may not be reasonable expectations, chronic pain that maybe you can address, but not necessarily cure it. It could be behavioral issues with a child that have been chronic.
So therapy or potential other treatments may help, but own only partially or slowly over time we could go on. But the point here is this being present and helping a patient feel heard, allows the possibility of helping reframe expectations. I hear you are in a lot of pain. I want to help you in a safe way that reduces your pain and helps you achieve your functional goals. Those behaviors in your child sound really disruptive and overwhelming. Let’s set a goal for having them happen half as frequently. So expectations from patients with regards to what you can help with and how fast you can help them. You may only have 15 or 30 minute appointment slots sometimes may have flexible late policies or no-show policies. There may be transportation challenges. You may be waiting on an in-person interpreter to come to your room or waiting to connect when you’re on the phone or the video, there may be long problemless on top of medication reconciliation on top of annual wellness exams.
Is it any wonder that many of us run behind schedule on a regular basis? 15 minutes isn’t enough, regardless of other tools implemented any number of consultants, frameworks, even the tips in my guide while they’re helpful to get done faster, they still can’t create time. So, so what, what are you gonna do? Number one, communicate either you or your staff could poke your head into the next room and say, there’s one patient ahead of you. Thanks for your patience or your next, something like that. Not, oh, the doc will be right in with you. It sets the expectation that I may be unlikely or unable to deliver on I’d much prefer the year next. Or let me go check where your doc is in the schedule. And I try to do the same when I’m leaving the room. If it’s more than 10 to 15 minutes for my medical assistant or nurse to come in, please ask for an update.
My nurse or medical assistant could be drawing blood for a especially wiggly child, assisting a colleague or rooming three siblings next door. I try to give patients an idea of what to expect without over promising. It’s not giving rock bottom promises so that we meet them. But if reality is less than expectations, people are often disappointed dissatisfied. But if reality can exceed expectations, you get that wow factor. People are excited, satisfied. This doesn’t mean that everyone will say, wow, this practice is amazing, but if you exceed expectations and if you manage them, these expectations can be good goals to help work towards. It also helps me temper my expectations, knowing that I will learn, grow and do my best, but I can’t meet all the expectations of my patients all the time. And that honestly can be kind of freeing to know that I can learn and grow, but I can’t please everyone in every situation.
So first expectations at work with patients, second expectations at work with issues around administration leadership and regulatory entities. So there’s a lot of a expectations at work. And there are areas that we really need more advocacy to change some of these things at the system level. Not that most of these things are bad, but sometimes adding the modules for life support training on top of annual male practice modules, modules about workflow maintenance of certification, how to recognize a stroke I could go on and not that these are things to over or look, but often all of them together can be really overwhelming. And the list just seems to get longer every year. It’s a weight of expectations on top of patient care, closing charts in a timely fashion answering inbox messages. Okay, pause, take a deep breath. Let your heart rate come back down a bit.
I know these are touchy subjects and sometimes the expectations placed on us are unreasonable, but sometimes they’re just not as urgent as we think they are getting notes done the same day while it may be an ideal to shoot for, they need to be done within 72 hours for me. But same day may not always happen. There may need to be some negotiation. Could modules be assigned another time during the year or space them out so that they don’t happen all at once, or it may also need to be advocacy for change. Some things are important, but if you can demonstrate competency by passing out with a quiz, maybe you don’t have to do quite as many modules or as frequently, maybe we can revisit certain clinic policies or workflows that might also help address patient expectations. There’s lots of possibilities and options here, and they’re gonna be unique to your own situation.
But we as physicians are all leaders, and this is an opportunity to have influence if we are willing to join the conversation. So first expectations from patients and second expectations that work from administration leadership and regulatory entities, and third expectations outside of work from family, significant others, friends, other commitments, each of us has multiple roles and responsibilities as whole people means being a parent, a child, a spouse, a partner, a friend, all that on top of our professional roles. I know there are certain things that I can do to love my wife and to care for my daughter, but it takes intentionality. And yet intentionality doesn’t make me a mind reader. I have to ask questions. What do you need for me today? How can I help? Are you hoping I make it home by a certain time so that you can make dinner with friends.
Again, I’m not a mind reader and I can’t expect others in my life to be either. You need to have intentionality and communication asking about others’ expectations and sharing mind. Okay? Let’s recap. So dealing with and managing expectations involves dealing with those from patients, from administration and leadership, from family and others, outside of work and forth expectations from yourself on yourself. Sometimes we are our own worst critic. I didn’t do this. I should have done that. There are certainly opportunities for reflection, how to grow. Sometimes we add this burden to ourselves that doesn’t need to be there. I should be full professor already. I should have published that. Yes, set big goals and evaluate how you did, but give yourself some self compassion. And grace, since life happens, hard stuff comes up. Sometimes the expectations we place on ourselves are unrealistic, a timeline or something else.
And it only fuels the imposter syndrome that plagues so many of us, myself included. So take a moment and imagine with me, what would it look like if you were proactive and intentional in dealing with expectations in these areas, with patients, with leadership and administration at work with relationships outside of work, family, friends, with yourself, would you be more satisfied with those interactions? Would you have more peace, more joy, more confidence, more hope. Would you be more confident in yourself as a physician and a person by not letting imposter syndrome hold you back anymore? Take action today. Your wellness is worth it. Thank you for joining me here on another episode of the MedEdWell podcast, I wanna encourage you to subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend, head on over to mededwell.com/efficiencyguide to get your free PDF with 10 steps to help you get home faster again, today’s sponsor is the physician philosopher’s guide to personal finance and the links and the show notes. You can get your copy today. I wanna thank all of you for all of your encouragement on this journey and I, and to encourage you so that you can take your next step and your wellness today. Take care. I’ll see you next time.