It seems to be a recent trend in the media to feature stories of doctors who are going broke, being driven to despair, and quitting what used to be viewed as an altruistic and rewarding profession. The news articles and segments certainly feature accurate depictions of disillusioned and unhappy doctors, but there is more to a medical career than despair.
The practice of medicine, not unlike many professions, is undergoing a transformation. While there are definitely too many unproductive cooks in the kitchen trying to grab a piece of the ever-shrinking healthcare pie, there are other developments in medicine besides the worsening bureaucratic crisis.
Medicine is also experiencing some positive changes stemming from advances in science, technology, public health and patient knowledge and empowerment. Any doctor who imagines that over a fifty year career in medicine, he or she will not be required to attain new knowledge and skills is in for a very unpleasant reality.
Whether it is adapting clinical practice to constantly improving devices and medical therapeutics or learning to use unfamiliar patient records or dealing with new and often temporary policies on multiple levels, it is the physician who is able to easily adapt and roll with the punches who will thrive.
Changes in rules, regulations and organizational structures of health care will continue to cycle, twist and turn, while the reality of the demand for caring, compassionate and capable doctors will remain constant. The challenge for doctors is to continue to improve competence, always providing the best care, while understanding and, more importantly, taking the initiative, to actively shape and influence the peripheral factors that encompass patient care.
There are ways you can adapt to the changes in medicine without losing your mind!
*Keeping up with regulations is one of the most effective ways to manage a healthcare career. Find out how to increase your regulations know-how here.
*Recognizing that a medical career is a continuum instead of a dead end can help you throughout your whole career path. There is more than one way for a doctor to make a difference.
*Periodically re-evaluating your professional goals can help you redirect your career if necessary.
*Know your options. As medicine changes, it is crucial for doctors tohave a grasp of the range of professional options. You might want to remain in patient care and adapt to the changes in healthcare. Or you might want to leave patient care as you adapt to the changes in health care. Either way, the one factor that will not change is that every doctor must adapt to the changes that are affecting in health care.