The way you feel at the end of your day is an important measurement for your health and the health of your practice. If you’re tired, run down and exhausted, it’s probably not from excessive physical activity. Of course, treating patients all day long requires strength and patience. But those who are often most tired are usually seeing the fewest numbers of patients! Their practices are seemingly stuck, most likely because they are in the wrong headspace. After all, practitioners who see twice as many patients rarely struggle like that. Finding out what’s behind this situation could be the key to moving your practice to its next level.
Do you care too much?
If your emotional tanks are empty by the end of the day, it probably means you care too much about what your patients do. This parental approach to practice can be very tiring. It keeps the practice comfortably small as you spend lots of time with each of your patients. You also take things very personally such as missed appointments, unexplained patient dropout and unhealthy patient habits.
How do you know if you care too much? Generally speaking, caring is about expectation and mutual benefit. If you are doing something and you anticipate a particular response, you’re caring instead of loving. When you love, this form of judgment disappears.
While you are a professional caregiver, you must be careful not to care too much. Only then will you be able to truly focus your efforts on creating a successful and lasting practice.
Unclear Professional Boundaries
Remember that the patient also has a job to do. Simply put, you can only be responsible for those things which you can realistically influence. You can respond to the need of each patient by creating a care plan, yet you cannot be expected to ensure the patient follows the plan. All you can do is make recommendations. Patients have the freedom to abuse their bodies, behave in ways that is bad for their health and wellbeing and generally to undo your efforts to help them. The only option you have is to make the decision to offer your services to them or not.
You must not confuse your role in the patient-doctor relationship. The patient hires you and just as well, he may fire you.
Do you have a purpose for your practice?
That may be what you do, or are trying to do, but that’s not your purpose! Confusing what you do for your purpose is a common mistake. You are in practice to fulfil a higher purpose. If you don’t know what that is, it’s worth taking the time to discover it.
It may very well be a lifelong journey. Start by articulating your purpose in language. You must not allow it to remain a simple idea or feeling or someone else’s thoughts. Use your own vision and creativity to create a purpose or mission statement, consisting of a sentence or two. This can be an inspiring boost to your practice. It will make you appreciate significant moments and milestones in your patient care, the ones where you really see the achievements and the patient turns into a true believer of your care.
So take a moment to ask yourself, “Do I have unrealistic expectations, am I selfish, do I care too much?” Once you have found your purpose, you will know your responsibilities and truly love (not just care for) your patients and what you do! You will do your own health and the health of your patients some good. And you will soon discover that your practice will grow, even though you will experience less of the burnout feeling that you may have used to.