You may think that I’m gonna tell you to suck it up and accept what comes your way. That all of those doctors before you (and before me) have worked long hours, gone without eating or sleeping, and sacrificed personal events for patient needs, so why shouldn’t you?
Get ready for how I really feel about this topic:
The truth is:
Acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate the inexcusable.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that you give until you run dry.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t count.
What acceptance means is that you acknowledge what’s in front of you. That you recognize it. And that you are smart enough to evaluate it and respond in a way that is appropriate.
Not in a way that is appropriate for a prisoner-of-war or an inmate.
In a way that is befitting a doctor or doctor-in-training.
When you accept something for the moment (being on call every other night or staying late at the office again), instead of having it be a “take it till you can’t fake it” situation, try this:
Use this as an “information gathering” moment.
Know what you can and can’t do.
Know when to choose your battles.
Brainstorm with your friends and family (or consult a coach!) on how you can do something different when that same event happens in the future.
One of my clients, Tom, was constantly challenged by emergency walk-in patients. It seemed he was the only one who was willing to alter his schedule for these patients, often eating lunch in the hallway in between such emergencies.
We talked about his options. Tom had three partners who were also available but made themselves scarce.
When he approached them about a fair distribution to these walk-ins, turns out that they were receptive. They had just been oblivious, not intentional jerks, about the walk-in overflow on Tom’s schedule.
It’s not easy when our livelihood depends on what we will (and won’t) do some days.
How can you realistically change what isn’t working?
Whose help can you enlist to look at other options?
How can you alter this outcome in the future?
Have you faced a similar problem to Tom’s? Please share below how you handled it. Your ideas can help your colleagues and vice versa. We’re all in this together, my friends.