Life-Changing Experience with ChartingJan 25, 2024
I went home feeling like a loser. It was almost 8 pm. I felt drained, exhausted, and I lacked the mental capacity to properly think – after working for more than 13 hours without a break. Kids and the husband were home. They finished dinner and left me some food. Sitting at the dining table, all by myself, tears started to well up. I thought that if I worked hard in school, I would be able to become a physician, which I wanted to be for the longest time. I went into medicine knowing that it would not be an easy path. Yet I did not think I would be suffering in misery.
There must be something wrong with me, I thought. I was not good enough to finish my work on time. I was not fit to be a full-time attending physician. More and more thoughts came up. I felt like a loser. My family felt distant to me because I had no reserve to have any meaningful connection with them. I did my best to take care of the patients and it almost felt routine and an obligation, no longer something I enjoyed.
I was exhausted. Mentally and physically. Working many more hours than I anticipated, without being compensated for those extra hours.
This was me only several years ago. I still remember the old me vividly. It came to the point that I decided something needed to change. I contemplated many different options. Quit medicine completely. Decrease to part-time somehow. Move out of state.
Then I realized the main reason for my burnout was the long hours of work. Those extra hours were mostly accounted for by charting. What if I could be more efficient? What would life be like if I could go home by 6:30 pm consistently, with my work done?
At that time, going home earlier than I was seemed impossible.
What if it was possible? This opened up my curiosity. I started to explore possibilities. I sought coaching. One of the most important things I learned was to focus on my goal.
Yes, I wanted to go home on time. The reason behind it was to be able to spend more time with my family. Not to mention to have time to rest, recharge, regain my sanity.
Having the goal in mind made a big difference. I had a direction, a purpose, focus and determination. I was able to concentrate better, minimize distractions. Gradually, I was finishing my charts sooner and sooner. When seeing twenty-five patients used to take me an extra 3.5 hours to finish my work (the charts, the phone calls, the results review), it gradually became only an extra hour. Since then, I have been finishing work and go home by 5 pm.
It was a shift in focus. It was saving seconds here and there. It was finding more efficient ways. It was allowing imperfection while doing my best. Who knew that the call to change my charting experience would return in more efficiency and so many more things?
Currently, I continue to work full-time, continue to see 20-27 patients a day, and I continue to leave work at work at around 5 pm. I have time to pause. I allow myself to take care of myself. I create better bonds and connections with my patients and my family.
I am grateful for what I have gone through. Without that experience, I would not know what is possible if you are focused, determined and have a goal in mind. I am happily coaching other physicians to do the same. I believe it is possible for physicians to go home on time. It is possible to enjoy medicine again. It is possible to enjoy life outside of medicine. Are you ready for the transformation?
Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?