Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Diversify your skill set and improve your work/life balance as a doctor

Author: Michelle Mudge-Riley, DO, MHA

Is it ever possible to have some sort of work/life balance as a doctor? Many seem to believe it’s a fantasy in part because of the culture of medicine but also in part because we don’t have any training or good examples on how to create some sort of work life balance for ourselves.

One way to help create a work/life balance could be to diversify your skill set. It could be as easy as learning more about healthcare IT and then helping with implementation of your organization’s EHR system. There are many low cost and easy ways like this to diversify yourself. Doing this as a seasoned doctor (and even as a resident) may go a long way in helping to mitigate or reduce feelings of stress and burnout. In fact, a recent JAMA study reported that quality of life and satisfaction with work/life balance was highest among residents who reported moonlighting, or working at a second job outside their regular residency training.

In addition to giving you an outlet, diversifying yourself in some way can help you remember that there is more to life than just the hospital, clinic or being a doctor. It’s hard to know and understand how much is out there when we are funneled through school and training and then live the day-to-day life as a doctor.

About the author:

Dr. Mudge-Riley is a senior consultant for brokerage firms, health systems and large employers in wellness and health promotion and President of Physicians Helping Physicians in Richmond, Virginia.  She has spent the past seven years advising and coaching other doctors in their career by counseling physicians on business skills, assisting with compliance and risk management issues and mentoring in personal wellness and balance.  She has worked with hundreds of doctors and in various health systems located throughout the United States. To read more about Dr. Mudge-Riley, click here.

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