Published by Lookforzebras
Being on-call can be a demanding and stressful experience, especially for physicians responsible for their patient’s well-being. Physicians nowadays have tumultuous times practicing what they love, medicine. With the healthcare landscape also rapidly changing, as a physician, you may find the practice is physically and mentally taxing.
It’s important to stay sane and balanced while you’re on-call to prevent burnout and maintain your well-being. Here are some tips for staying sane and balanced while you’re on call:
1. Delegate Tasks
“As a physician, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do all the tasks on your own. Delegate tasks to other members of your team when possible.”
Physicians must be adept at delegation because it facilitates more effective and efficient patient care. Physicians can concentrate on duties that call for their specialized knowledge and training by assigning work to other healthcare team members like nurses, medical assistants, and medical scribes. To ensure that jobs are executed effectively and safely, it’s crucial to delegate them in an acceptable manner and to give clear instructions and supervision.
2. Stay Organized
“Use tools like checklists and electronic medical records to remain organized and on top of your tasks while you’re on-call.”
Physicians can benefit from using checklists and electronic medical records (EMRs) to keep them organized and on top of their activities when on call. While EMRs can offer quick and simple access to patient information and history, test results, and other crucial data, checklists can ensure that everything is done as needed and nothing is missed.
EMRs can assist doctors in communicating with other healthcare team members as well as monitoring patient progress and treatment plans. Additionally, some EMRs include integrated task management and reminder features that can aid doctors in maintaining organization and staying on top of their on-call duties.
3. Take Breaks
“Make sure to take breaks and step away from your work regularly. This can help prevent burnout and keep you feeling fresh and energized.”
It’s critical to take regular breaks from work to maintain general well-being, especially for doctors who frequently work long and demanding hours. Burnout is a condition of persistent weariness that affects one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can result in a lack of productivity, decreased job satisfaction, and even physical sickness.
Physicians can benefit from taking frequent, brief breaks during the day to relax and refocus, as well as to minimize stress. This can entail stretching, taking a stroll outside, or practicing deep breathing.
Furthermore, it’s critical to carve out time for leisure pursuits that enhance both physical and mental health, such as exercise, hobbies, and socializing with loved ones. You can avoid burnout and balance the demands of the job.
Additionally, doctors need to have a healthy work-life balance, which is important to balance between the amount of time spent working and participating in other activities. This balance can support them in keeping a positive outlook on their work and remaining energized and motivated, eventually benefiting the patients.
4. Stay Healthy
“Eating well, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep are all important healthy habits that can help physicians stay alert and focused while on-call.”
A healthy diet gives physicians the energy and nutrients they need to stay alert and focused while on-call. A balanced diet with various fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and lean protein can support cognitive function and reduce fatigue. It’s also important to stay hydrated and avoid excessive caffeine intake.
Exercise can also help to improve cognitive function and reduce stress. Regular physical activity can help to enhance cardiovascular health, increase energy levels, and promote better sleep. Even short, moderate-intensity exercise sessions, such as brisk walking, can be beneficial.
Getting plenty of sleep is also essential for physicians when they are on call. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, poor concentration, and an increased risk of errors. Physicians should aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night and establish a consistent sleep schedule, even when on-call.
Finally, it’s important to note that physicians should also be aware of the importance of self-care and self-compassion. They should be kind to themselves and seek help when they need it. Support from colleagues and professional support resources can also be valuable in preventing burnout and promoting well-being.
5. Communicate With Your Team
“Make sure to communicate with your team and let them know your availability and any special instructions. This can help ensure you have the support you need while on-call.”
Medical professionals that are on call must be able to communicate effectively. Doctors must make their availability and any particular instructions known to their team members in order for them to offer the required support and guarantee continuity of care.
Doctors should review the patient’s records before coming on call to ensure the care team is aware of any pertinent information, such as recent test results, medications, or allergies. Any particular instructions, such as follow-up appointments, diagnostic tests or treatments, or any other significant information, should be made known to the team.
While on call, you can contact your team in several ways, such as:
- Putting in place an organized, detailed on-call procedure. A list of the team members’ names, phone numbers, and descriptions of their positions could be included. A communication board can be a good tool to facilitate effective communication.
- Utilizing a pager or Smartphone to take calls and respond to messages
- Frequently communicating with the group, for instance, by holding check-ins or team meetings.
- When handing off a patient to another team member, provide thorough and understandable handover instructions.
- During on-call shifts, it is also crucial to maintain good lines of communication with patients and their families. This may foster trust and raise patient satisfaction.
Effective communication can lower the chance of mistakes, enhance care coordination, and boost the entire efficiency of the healthcare team. Keeping in mind that communication should be respectful, culturally aware, and professional is also crucial.
6. Find Ways To Relax And De-Stress
“Find activities that help you relax and de-stress, such as meditation, yoga, or reading. These can help you stay calm and focused while you’re on-call.”
Finding ways to unwind and reduce stress might be a crucial tactic for doctors on call. These exercises can help keep doctors calm and focused when dealing with high-stress levels. They are especially useful when working long shifts or being on call.
Activities that physicians can use to unwind and reduce stress include:
- Meditation: This practice helps ease anxiety, sharpen focus and concentration, and foster inner serenity.
- Yoga: Yoga is a form of exercise that includes physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It can help to lower stress, increase flexibility and balance, and foster a sense of well-being.
- Reading: This relaxing activity might help you forget about work and relax. Reading can be a terrific method to learn new things and can also help with attention and focus.
- Listening to Music: Music has a strong emotional impact and can help with stress relief and mood enhancement.
Spending time outside, developing mindfulness, keeping a journal, and partaking in creative pursuits like painting or drawing are additional activities that might reduce stress. It’s critical to discover activities that suit your needs and those you enjoy and to schedule time for them frequently.
Furthermore, self-care includes caring for your physical and emotional well-being as well as relaxing. In addition to caring for their patients, doctors must look after their own needs.
7. Seek Support
“If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, don’t be afraid to seek support from your team or a mental health professional. It’s significant to take care of your own well-being while you’re on-call.”
Physicians should be mindful of their personal well-being and seek assistance if they feel overworked or stressed out when on call. The job’s responsibilities might be difficult, so prioritizing self-care is critical.
When feeling overburdened or under stress, there are numerous ways to get assistance:
- Speak with a coworker or supervisor: Having a listener familiar with the job’s responsibilities might be useful.
- Speak with a mental health professional: Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have employee assistance programs (EAPs) that give doctors private counseling and support.
- Make use of support groups: Establishing relationships with individuals who understand the unique challenges of the profession could be facilitated by joining a support group for physicians.
- Take care of yourself: Make time for interests, family, and friends, and strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Remember, asking for help does not indicate weakness but rather power. Admitting when we need help requires guts, and taking care of oneself is necessary if one is to be able to look after others.
Healthcare institutions must acknowledge the significance of physician well-being and offer assistance to doctors. Providing tools like counseling and mentorship programs, fostering a culture of self-care, and supporting open and honest dialogue around mental health and well-being are a couple of examples of how to do this.