None of my Business and Increased JoyDec 12, 2022
I was chatting with our longitudinal medical student last week, helping him in a small area of creating sustainable clinical practice. I said "What my patients do with my advice is none of my business". He looked at me with curiosity and wanted to know more.
"You see, unless I can follow them around smacking donuts out of their hands and spoon feeding them vegetables instead, I literally cannot control what another human does with any of the advice I give them. I get to give excellent advice, but be unattached to what the patient will accept or decide to follow through with. I get to help them choose their own adventure and be totally accepting of whatever they choose."
When I learned this lesson around 5 years ago, clinical practice became life-changingly easier. No longer was I trying to manipulate patients into making huge changes because I was somehow "that important" that they would immediately do things differently rather than familiar comforts!
Making change is HARD! YOU have to want to sign up for the discomfort of doing things differently. While a nice piece of advice from your doctor might help motivate you, your doctor is not there at 3am when the kids are up with a cough and you are piling sugary snacks into your mouth to keep from becoming a sleep deprived banshee.
Notice for yourself; are you disappointed when your diabetic returns and their weight is the same and they didn't start the new medication you prescribed? Do you take it personally? Do you somehow feel like you have failed?
This sort of thinking weighs heavily on YOU and has ZERO impact on your patient.
If you happen to express your disappointment in their lack of effort, now you create an opportunity for the patient to stop being honest with you and tell you all the "right things" and continue doing things in the way they always have.
So, does that mean we give up and stop giving advice? Of course not. We just have to know that it's up to them to take the information and knowing that any change is going to be terrifically hard, now we get to ask them how/what would help them, what are they interested in trying first, how can you best help them!
You still get to be awesome at your job because you are not responsible for what they do with the advice you give them. You get to let go of patient outcomes as a way of deciding if you are "good enough" and increase your joy at work.
If you are like all the other humans and find change hard, making changes becomes much easier with support and community. If you are wanting support to create a clinical day that works better for you then come and get help! We would be delighted to encourage you and support you. Click the program links below to find out more.