Tips for New Docs with guest Dr. John Casey and our hosts Andy, Drew, and Tanner.

Post by Spencer Willette, OMS-III

Beginning a new chapter of learning about and caring for patients can be both exciting and terrifying! In this episode, with Dr. John Casey, the crew discusses their top tips for new doctors or students beginning the patient care experience.

You are not expected to know everything!

Take the first couple of months to truly learn about your patients. It’s okay to slow down, see fewer patients, and thoughtfully approach your assessment of their presentation. To enhance the learning experience, it’s more beneficial to focus on a select few patients at a higher quality as opposed to seeing a ton of patients and not gaining a meaningful understanding of the disease management and treatment process. Lastly, when an attending asks you questions regarding a patient’s history, it’s okay to say “I don’t know, I didn’t ask”. Use that as a learning experience and move forward with a stronger ability to narrow down a diagnosis.

Don’t Lie!

Be honest about the information you know about a patient. Don’t make up an answer you expect the resident or attending wants to hear. We don’t learn by getting everything right the first time around. Learn from those mistakes and deficiencies. Honesty is at the core of the circle of trust. Honesty is an indicator of one’s motives, which can ultimately determine the ability to reach your goals. Additionally, the answer to “I don’t know” is okay in some circumstances but it also could indicate laziness. For example, if you are presented with a chest x-ray and asked what do you see, be thoughtful and give some type of answer to your understanding of what you see and connecting that to the patient’s presentation. Being truthful and honest are key components of interacting with people especially when patients’ lives are at stake.

Sleep hygiene!

Sleep is essential to operating as a human yet it often is the first thing we sacrifice. One of the first aspects of life we often throw to the wayside due to all of the responsibilities of life is sleep. Neglecting sleep hygiene can have mental and physical complications. Working night shifts can drastically throw off your regular cycle, so finding time to have quality sleep is essential. Setting a sleep timer to a podcast, book, or music could be a helpful technique to fall asleep.

Learn people’s names!

People feel more empowered and connected when they are called by their name rather than an arbitrary phrase of “hey you”. When meeting people, it can be awkward at first but make the effort to look at their badge and remember their name. This goes for everyone you meet including nurses, techs, new doctors, and environmental service staff.

Authentically and genuinely asking people how they are doing!

Medicine can be a dehumanizing experience so knowing your patients and colleagues on a personal level can be beneficial for everyone. Many of us use the default answer of “good” when asked how we are doing, so diving deeper and asking “how are you doing, really” can make a difference. Sitting down next to the patient and asking this question can induce an open, inspiring conversation that initially would never have happened. Comforting patients at the bedside saying, “I see you, I hear you, I am listening” can go a long way and further enhance the physician-patient relationship.

Know the scenario you are entering!

Understand that your attendings maybe a little more exhausted than normal given the current pandemic. Many educators are trying to rebound from this ongoing event so having patience with your attendings and the overall department is important. Everyone is having a tough time, from the patients to the economy, so it’s important to have that comprehensive awareness of the situation and people you will be encountering.

Take care of yourself and work colleagues. We can produce masks and ventilators, but can’t make people. Be smart and be safe when working in these treacherous environments.

Listen below for the full episode


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