work life balance of a doctor

The Value of Work-Life Balance for a Doctor and How to Attain It?

April 24, 2021

Being a doctor is a rewarding career. Specialized doctors are sought-after by patients, medical institutions, and even the media. But, it takes years of hard work and countless hours of persistence to get to that stage where the doctor can command her/his schedule. For most other medical professionals, balancing life and work remains a tumultuous challenge that often goes unresolved.

Take your schedule and see if it resembles any of these beats:

  1. You wake up early and get started with your day.
  2. You reach your clinic, hospital, or lab and get your appointments aligned.
  3. Before you consciously realize it, your brain is engaged in helping the next patient and then the next patient.
  4. By the time the day ends, you have responded to dozens of calls, patient appointments, emergency calls, and even surgeries.
  5. In between these hours, or after a lengthy working day, you try to read more about ongoing research in your area of specialty.
  6. And by the time you are about to sleep, the next day awaits. You wake up early and get started with your day.

The world is thankful for your services every single day. But, in this exasperating schedule, it is very easy to lose a grip on the balance between work life and personal life.

The Cost-Benefit Analysis of Giving Time to Your Relationships

You and your colleagues must have experienced missing a child’s annual performance in school for an emergency call, or standing for 24 hours without a break to finish an intense surgical procedure, or going from one day to another with barely any sleep. Such stories are inspiring and make being a doctor an all the more virtuously rewarding profession.

By now, you must have realized that there is a cost of running on this schedule. Such intensity can lead to:

  1. Fatigue, exhaustion, burnout, and depression.
  2. Using unhealthy substances as coping mechanisms.
  3. Behavioural changes that lead to easily triggered anger problems.
  4. Addictions and unhealthy routines.

Usually, as medical professionals, we often tell ourselves that there is a very logical explanation for running this busy schedule with barely a moment to breathe:

  1. It’s Normal to Overwork.

The barriers to entry into the profession mean that the number of medical professionals will always be lesser than the number required to attend to all the patients. On top of that, there are instances where hospitals use old software, outdated machines, unorganized systems, and isolated processes that add to the administrative responsibilities. Hence, on average, it is normal to be overworked as a doctor.

Also Read: Interoperability in Healthcare – How to Achieve it?

  • Everyone Works Hard.

As difficult as it may sound – the work culture for a doctor usually accounts for the risk to life for a patient. Hence, everyone who has been in the profession or is entering it is already aware of the gruelling work hours because someone’s life is at risk. This work culture keeps getting passed on from one generation of doctors to another, and the idea of working around the clock gets normalized.

  • Moral Duty.

You are a medical expert, and there are only a few professionals like you in your city, state, or even country. Since the patients require your knowledge to recover from their pain, it becomes your moral duty to ensure your knowledge is being put to use for maximum hours in a day.

  • Rewards at the End of it All.

Someday, you will be a specialist with your name on the walls. Then, you will have the luxury of assistants to delegate. Till then, grind like everyone else. Basically, one day you will have the team that takes care of the administrative processes with dedicated healthcare software while you consult on the high-profile cases.

Each one of these is a plausible reason. But there are counter-perspectives for each one of these arguments:

  1. The patients deserve a healthy and well-rested doctor whose judgment is not fogged by fatigue.
  2. A healthy and well-rested doctor can achieve more in less time than a tired but determined doctor.
  3. Your peers have their practices. What works for them doesn’t have to work for you. If something has been done sub-optimally in the past, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same thing in the same manner.

The longest study conducted on men shows that strong relationships are the recipe for a happy life. So, by giving more time to your friends and family, you are creating a better system of work for yourself, your patients, and your colleagues.

A well-rested, happier, and satisfied brain with the work ethics of an ambitious doctor has the potential to make a dent in the universe without having to sacrifice her/his/their personal life. Strong relationships make you self-aware and provide a sense of accomplishment.

So, the question remains – how do you attain that balance? 

How to Balance Family and Work as a Doctor?

  1. Identify Your Priorities

By now, you must have already prioritized the important elements in your career. Now, you have to focus on the priorities in your personal life. You cannot see all your friends & family members all the time. But, you can see some of them sometimes. And as far as you know who stands where in your list of priorities, you will know when to carve an hour in your schedule and give them the attention they deserve.

  • Take Your Breaks Seriously

As a doctor with a considerable amount of workload, how do you usually use your breaks? If you are planning vacations, buying expensive products, or catching up on a movie, you might be replacing long-term wellbeing with temporary psychological rewards. Instead, if you focus on socializing with your friends and family, start meditating, or give yourself an extra hour for a workout – you will do a great favour to both your brain and your loved ones.

By bringing activities that have a positive compounding effect on your life, you are preparing your brain to take your breaks more seriously. If you plan to catch up on a movie in your break, your break will be something easily replaceable since you would prefer attending a conference over watching a movie. But, if you utilize your breaks to fortify your mental and physical health, you will always return as a fitter and more productive individual.

Parkinson’s Law dictates, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” So, make sure your schedule is embedded with mandatory breaks that you utilize for your holistic wellbeing. And soon, your productivity will go up even if you are allocating relatively lesser time to work.

  • Begin with Small Adjustments.

It is easy for achievers like you to make an ambitious plan and achieve it. But, when it comes to creating a balance between work and life, patience and small adjustments go a long way.

Identify the biggest ‘time-burners’ in your day and eliminate them. Do not try to cut your working hours by 50%. Instead, try to finish work an hour early just today. Make a schedule for your wellbeing and stick to it most of the time. Instead of making this yet another task you have to accomplish, see the space for optimization. It is a continual process – it will grow as your responsibilities grow.

Also Read: How to Make a Frictionless Patient Registration Process in Your Hospital or Clinic?

  • Take Care of Your Brain and Body

Stay hydrated, exercise, and practice meditation. Your brain and your behaviour are the two assets that will change lives that come in touch with you. Hence, it is your duty to make sure that your body is well-rested, fed, and hydrated to perform the functions your brain commands. And your brain must be focused, clear, and mindful to help you provide the best possible medical care. Avoid substances that provide immediate relief at the cost of long-term wellbeing – run to control cholesterol instead of spending the hour with alcohol, and so on.

 In Conclusion

Being a medical professional is a novel service and comes with a large set of responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is taking care of yourself as a human being to perform better when you are supposed to. And SoftClinic is here to help you with it.

We make sure that scheduling, patient records, maintaining prescriptions, and several other essential but time-consuming tasks are taken care of with the click of a few buttons on our comprehensive clinic, laboratory, and hospital management software. Our team takes pride in empowering the doctors who are making the world a healthier place.

If you want to experience SoftClinic, click here. And take good care of yourself because the world needs more people like you.