The joy and pain of change and growth.
Think back to your early career mentors and how you learned pearls of wisdom, work ethic, and life lessons from them. Now, think about what you learned of their career’s foibles, successes, and frustrations. I have marveled at the study of how to manage a fulfilling professional life. How can I minimize health and emotional pitfalls while "keeping it fresh".
I find myself very good at managing "the short game”: queuing up my patients, managing my daily work, and following up on projects. However, I find that I tend to lose focus on “the long game”: balance, growth, change, and collaboration.
Of course, my spouse helps compensate by reminding me of the need to manage resources – I have only so much energy and there’s only so much time, and if I spend it all on my “short game”, I lose out on vital opportunities for growth, change, and support.
A common theme from all these life mentors is the inclusion of friends and colleagues in a vertical and horizontal dimension. Meaning that I am at my best when I am both supported and challenged by those different than myself, older mentors and younger colleagues alike. This can be a real challenge in outpatient medicine. We have been pressured to work harder, focus more narrowly, and isolate ourselves in our little siloes – to focus on our “short games”. The inclusion of medical practice technology is intended to foster broad interaction and expedite enlightening when used accurately. Unfortunately, when used inaccurately, it often has a way of exacerbating the challenge, isolating people into virtual domains.
Continuing to build this give-and-take, this support and challenge, between myself and my colleagues is important to my “long game”. It is important for keeping me at my best. One of the ways our practice fosters the sort of environment in which this exists is accurate use of technology. We find that, by embracing and updating our technology, we allow colleagues younger and older to work comfortably in their environments, interact with one another, and communicate with our specialty friends who we no longer see at the hospital lunch room.
It keeps us all fresh.
Dr. Eric Weidmann serves as eMDs Chief Medical Officer and is a practicing physician in Austin, TX.