We know doctor jobs are stressful. But please don’t get brainwashed into developing new bad habits. We put together a list of the top 10 sins we should all avoid committing as physicians so that we can be at our peak performance at work, save lives, heal people, and earn the respect of our patients and colleagues.
1. Smoking: Patients can smell your breath no matter how effectively you think you are hiding your bad habit. It sets a horrible example for your patients and your colleagues about how you value health and disease prevention in general.
2. Obesity: Get to the gym! Obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for morbidity and mortality. Patients will resent you for encouraging them to lose weight when you cannot even do it yourself. Why should they trust someone who can’t take care of their own health?
3. Drugs/Alcohol before Work: Did you ever commit this sin? Are you kidding? You cannot smoke a joint or chug a beer before work. That’s a no brainer. You have lives in your hands. Medical marijuana is not an exception.
4. Talking About Your Patients to Non-Doctors: This is the biggest no-no for doctors (after drugs and alcohol) and the most commonly committed sin. We know that it is exciting that you see an A-list celebrity as your patient. Hold it in. Do not share. You think other people will respect you more if you tell them whom you are treating? No, they will resent you for violating your patient’s trust.
5. Failure to Keep Up with Medical Literature: You cannot just “coast” and educate your patients from the literature you learned back in medical school. To be a great doctor you need to read, read, and read more and attend seminars and lectures so that you can keep patients up-to-date with what is new in your field. Reading People magazine ads about new drugs on the market won’t cut it.
6. Overbooking Patients: Tell the front desk not to squeeze in twice as many patients as you have time to see. It will wear you down and your patients will resent you for not giving them enough time during the visit or for forcing them to wait too long at your office before they are seen.
7. Ignoring Patient Phone Calls: Do you know how many doctors just don’t call their patients back? More than you expect. Don’t fall into that trap no matter how tired you are at the end of the day or how chatty they may be.
8. Forgetting to Write Notes to Referring Doctors: It takes extra time to dictate or write out notes to your referring doctors with little to no extra reimbursement. Just write them. Your colleagues will respect you for it and the patients will get better care.
9. Texting or Answering Non-Urgent Calls in Front of Patients: If your gardener is calling you with a question about your front lawn or your hairstylist wants to change your next haircut appointment, resist the temptation to answer their calls or text them when you are seeing a patient. Patients won’t come back to see you.
10. Dating Nurses or Administrators at Your Hospital: It doesn’t matter how sexy the hospital staff and administrators may be. Please resist the temptation to date them. You will be the subject of nasty gossip and put yourself at grave risk for whistleblowing if things don’t work out in the relationship. Why put your reputation at risk?
Doctors…..Don’t be sinners. Value your careers. Respect your colleagues. Honor your patients. As simple and obvious as some of these sins seem, don’t fall into the trap of committing any of them. You will lose self-respect and valuable business. None of these sins are worth putting your hard-earned medical jobs on the line.