Wanted: phenomenal docs: The secret to your best performance as a physician is closer than you might think

Monday, June 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

My background is in performance coaching and consulting. And for the past eight years, one of the areas I’ve focused my practice on is helping physicians—at all levels of experience and across areas of specialisation—develop tools and processes that help them achieve more consistent performance and better health.

Part of this process has involved asking physicians to identify peers whom they feel are particularly adept at handling the unique stressors of the job and regularly perform at their best.

Why? Because they’re doing something others maybe are not. And it’s clearly working! Gathering that wisdom and translating it into something you and your peers can adopt into your own practice is both my process (phenomenology) and my goal: to help you become phenomenal docs.

So that’s what I do. I seek out these “star” performers, place a microphone in front of them and ask them to demystify the secrets behind their “gift.” Not surprisingly, they don’t have a “gift” or any special qualities that you or their other peers lack. They are human, like you, and the conditions in which they thrive are the same ones you face each day. Here’s how they differ:

They prepare for and engage with their experiences in important ways.

  • They prepare across all domains—technical, clinical and mental.
  • They appreciate and acknowledge that they are human, and then seek to explore how they can minimize the possibility of human factors impairing performance (E.g. level of focus, energy, situational awareness etc.)
  • They visualize their performance so that they can anticipate challenges, see and feel solutions, and create a mental image of themselves responding optimally to a high-stress situation.
  • They develop and constantly refine a framework to deal with failure; to help them make the daily transition from work to life; to ensure optimal on-job focus; and to reframe stress and pressure.

Their wisdom and knowledge is all around you. Take advantage of it! Engage with those physicians you want to learn from. Ask them to share the ways in which they prepare for difficult situations, how they manage their energy, focus, and perspective. Do as I do and interview the “star” performers you want to learn from. This is the most effective way to tease out their ingrained habits and routines. And the information you bring to the surface will help you begin to develop the unique set of tools and processes that help you become phenomenal docs too.

Art of practice
Human factors

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