Stop Physician Burnout - What to do when a patient says thank you

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

To prevent physician burnout, you must manage your three internal Energy Banks

A Thank You from a patient or family member can top up all three accounts, but ONLY if you know what to do and say in that moment.

"Thank You" is like rocket fuel because it provides an instant infusion of Spiritual Energy, reconnecting you with the purpose in your practice.

Unfortunately, most doctors deflect thank yous and miss this golden opportunity to prevent burnout.

This is another lesson we never received in Med School, Residency or Fellowship - How to RECIEVE a Thank You with Elegance and Grace.

This is Part 3 of 3 in our Series on Physician Energy Management. Here are the first two:
Part 1 - Physician energy has nothing to do with batteries being run down
Part 2 - Physician's 3 Energy Banks

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The Thank You Connection to Spirit

Spirit in your practice is your connection to PURPOSE. You must have reminders you are making a difference and serving a purpose regularly or your Spiritual Energy Bank becomes drained. At that point, the little voice in your head might start whispering, "What's the use."

That little voice phrase, "What's the use. I'm really not making a difference or serving a purpose here," is actually the third symptom of burnout.

Here's how I discovered the Thank You connection to Spirit.

It was by accident, early in my physician coaching practice. I was looking for a way to help doctors remember what they enjoy about seeing patients

I asked hundreds of my physician clients:

"Tell me about your last Ideal Patient Visit"

You know the one...

That special interaction, during an otherwise busy day, that lights you up. Where, at the end of the day, you said to yourself,

"oh yeah, that's why I became a doctor in the first place," with a little fist pump.

Or when you get home, you say, "Honey, sit down, I have to tell you what happened at work today."

About ten doctors into this inquiry, a pattern began to emerge that has held true to this day - across hundreds of doctors. 

97% of the time that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment comes from two words the patient, or a family member, said to you.

Tags: Physician Burnout, physician patient communication


Doctor Patient Communication - Stop the "Oh By the Way ..."

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Doctor Patient Communication - how to stop "Oh, by the way ..." at the end of the visit and build patient satisfaction at the same time.

You know the visit ... 

You work hard helping your patient adjust the three meds she takes for diabetes and heart failure. You are 20 minutes into this visit, feeling like you have done a good job ... wondering when you will get the chance to write your note because now you are a full 30 minutes behind.

As you are neatly wrapping things up, your patient smiles at you and says, "Oh .. by the way doctor ..." and rummages around in her purse, eventually pulling out "THE LIST".

You sigh, your shoulders slump, it feels as if the wind has been knocked out of you. You didn't see it coming and you just fell into the Tiger Trap of "Oh .. by the way" at what should have been the end of this patient encounter. You would give anything to have been able to prevent this happening ... again.

In this post, let me show you how to fill this hole in your doctor patient communication skill set. When you learn to actually ask for the list up front, your energy and patient satisfaction ratings will go way up.

Three steps to stop , "Oh ... by the way"

Tags: physician patient communication


Talk to Your Doctor so Your Doctor Will Listen

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Talk to Your Doctor so Your Doctor Will Listen

The most common complaint about physicians on the internet is, “They didn’t listen to me”.

You were sitting in the office and the doctor was physically present in the room, but they weren’t all there. Even worse is when the doctor doesn’t try to understand what you are going through. Sometimes it can seem like they didn’t even care. Let me give you a suggestion on how to talk to your doctor so your doctor will listen.

Tags: Dike Drummond MD, Physician Burnout, compassion fatigue, physician patient communication