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Choosing a Doctor? 6 Ways to Know If Your Doctor is “Good”

Choosing a Doctor? 6 Ways to Know If Your Doctor is “Good”

Being a patient is never something that anyone (not even doctors) likes to experience. The word patient is derived from the Latin word, suffer, and many of us would agree that this is an accurate descriptor. As a patient, we are precariously vulnerable—forced to turn over absolute confidence in what could be considered a complete stranger. Oftentimes, we walk into a doctor’s office with seemingly outrageous expectations: “Cure me, now,” we beg of our physicians. What we are really seeking, though, is simply for a doctor that makes us feel safe, heard, and confident.

While we may never find the perfect doctor able to make us feel both comfortable and healed at all times, we can certainly adjust our expectations and decide what makes a “near-perfect doc.”  The right patient-doctor relationship can mean faster diagnosis, a greater probability that you will see your doctor more regularly and decrease the likelihood that you will have to go through the laborious task of switching doctors during a time when you need a doctor most.

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Choosing a doctor is an incredibly personal decision. Your time, health, and money are on the line. Your definition of “good” will differ from the next person’s, so know what it is you are looking for. For you, what makes a doctor good?

Here are a few non-negotiable traits that every doctor should embody and a few factors to consider when determining your personal preferences:

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1. Compassion

Compassion isn’t a virtue that comes packaged with medical training. It’s an inborn trait that can be nurtured by emulating caring mentors in medical schools, not necessarily taught. Some people are innately more compassionate and caring than others. If you are lucky enough to find a caring and compassionate doctor, you are in good hands for they are sure to go to great lengths to get you through your ailment. Studies have found that these values are strongly linked to higher quality of care and far better patient outcomes.

2. Competency

Competency means embodying the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job effectively. Competency comes only from training and experience. For doctors, experience begins with training and starts the moment they enter medical school. Competent doctors are able to interpret the situation in the context that is relevant, especially during emergencies. Staying up-to-date on the latest research and technology is essential to becoming a great doctor. Do a quick search online to check out any recent articles your doctor has published or any talks they’ve recently given. You can also find out how many years they’ve practiced medicine, any awards they’ve received and even reviews from former patients.

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3. Bedside Manners

Numerous studies have shown a link between lousy bedside manners and poor medical outcomes. Every patient wants to find a doctor who listens. A doctor can be among the best in their field, but if they have poor bedside manners, patients are forced to choose between competency and kindness. Doctors can often appear rushed, but you should feel important during your visits. Be sure you feel comfortable and confident that your doctor cares—caring is just as important as competency. Don’t sacrifice kindness in a doctor or you risk the subconsciously wanting to avoid the doctor, even when you know you really need to go.

4. Gender

Ask yourself: “Do I really feel comfortable and open with a doctor of the opposite sex?” Be truthful with yourself. If the answer is no, then don’t push the boundaries. You can test the waters here, but ultimately, go with your gut and make an honest decision. It is okay to bias here.

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5. Age

Age may matter to some, and not at all to others. Do you feel less vulnerable with someone your own age? Perhaps you’d like someone a bit younger so you can feel a sense of control. Or, maybe you’d like someone older who you deem wiser. Whatever your call, consider your options and in which scenario you’d feel the most comfortable.

6. Action Plan

Clarity of thought process and action planning is important in assessing a clinical condition. If your doctor orders a test, they must also know how to deal with the results. Having an action plan means that your doctor has control over the situation, whether treating a medical condition or consulting a sub-specialist when they’re is not sure of the treatment options. When it comes to the bad news, do you feel confident in your doctor’s ability to develop a successful treatment plan? You need to be onboard with your doctor’s strategies and thus have unwavering confidence in their ability to lead you back to health.

Being a good doctor means embodying all the above characteristics. The next time you make a doctor’s visit, evaluate your doctor against these criteria and determine what you are looking for and whether or not your doctor fits the bill.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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