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It Takes More Than Practical Strategies

Jul 08, 2024

A colleague wanted to refer her physician friend to my 1:1 Physician Coaching Program. My colleague mentioned that all her friend wanted was some practical strategies to improve her charting efficiency. By practical strategies she meant the technical steps she could utilize.

There is no doubt in most everything we do, the technique is important. The skill is important. And there is more to it than mastering the physical actions. What is more powerful than the technology or skills we learn to do a task is our mind.

When you only look at the physical skillset to do things, you are ignoring part of the picture. As physicians, many are taking several hours after they see their last patient to finish charting. Sure, having the practice of using a particular electronic medical record system is helpful. Understanding and knowing the EMR is certainly important. Knowing what to include and what not to include in the chart also will keep you from including non-essential information (which is less time wasted in charting). Other strategies such as see the patient and do the chart, utilizing a dictation program, a scribe and text expanders are all effective strategies.

Prioritizing your to-do list, minimizing distraction and delegating whenever possible are all practical strategies to improve your efficiency.

Why do we need more than these skills?

Our mind is a very powerful tool. It can lift you up or keep you down. Even if you have all the practical skills, without paying attention to your mindset or your feelings, you will not achieve the optimal efficiency.

When you want to accomplish something, you set a goal. Remind yourself why you set that goal. How would you feel when you accomplish that goal?

The wonderful thing is that, you do not have to wait until you fulfilled your goal to experience those feelings. You can imagine that you have already accomplished that goal and borrow those emotions associated with it.

For example, your goal is to finish your charts by 6 pm. How would you feel if this was already your reality? You may feel accomplished, content, triumphant, confident, or some other emotions with a similar flavor. You do not have to wait until you achieve your goal to feel those feelings. When you imagine and envision your future, consistently going home with your charts completed by 6 pm or earlier, you get to borrow those emotions and feel them now. Those emotions are the pleasant kind of emotions. Theses are more sustainable to fuel your day. This is in contrast with the unpleasant emotions, such as frustration, anger, helplessness, stressed or overwhelmed. Theses emotions tend to drain you – you may have the momentum to do the work at first, and you will tire out physically and mentally faster.

How you act is also different, depending on what emotions you are experiencing. In other words, even if you have the same technical skills, if one person feels accomplished and the other person feels overwhelmed, they will utilize the hands-on techniques differently. For example, you are to stack several piles of books. When you are feeling content, you will probably smile and stack the books in nice and neat piles. When you are feeling frustrated, you will probably frown and stack the books in a hasty fashion, or throw them together instead.

Giving yourself grace is also an essential part of work efficiency. When something does not go as planned, or you did not accomplish the goal you set, be kind to yourself. Reflect on what went well, what you learn from it and what you can do to improve. Always be your own cheerleader.

Believing in what you can accomplish is essential in achieving your goal. If you do not believe that you can finish your charts on time, it is not likely that you would give it a try.

It is also important to be willing to try new things and explore new ideas. When a strategy does not work as anticipated, be open to look for other ways to do it. Ask for help.

To be efficient at work, it takes more than knowing and mastering the technical skills of doing a task. As a physician, if you desire to leave work on time with your charts done, besides knowing your EMR well, there is more to just focusing on the practical strategies. The emotion that you use to fuel your work is important. Always be kind to yourself, even when you have not achieved your set goal – yet. Believe that you can do it – if someone else has done it, it is proof that you can do it too. Be open to trying new things and new strategies. Do not hesitate to seek help. Always be your own cheerleader.

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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