How to be a happy doctor →

How to be a happy doctor

I was a physician employee, many times for many hospitals and clinics. I’d stay a year or two, but eventually I’d quit. Then, in 2005, I opened an ideal clinic designed by my patients. Ten years later, I still love private practice. Why? I’m finally practicing medicine the way I had always imagined.

When I decided to open a private practice, I was determined to do things differently. I needed to know what my patients really wanted from me. So I led a series of town hall meetings where I invited my community to design an ideal medical clinic. I collected 100 pages of written testimony, adopted 90 percent of the feedback, and opened one month later. Now my job description is written by patients, not administrators. I’m finally the doctor my patients had always imagined.

I work collaboratively with my patients in a neighborhood family medicine clinic where nobody is turned away for lack of money. It is ideal. There are so many things I love about private practice. Here are a few:

• Autonomy. No more committee meetings. If I want to change an office policy, I just do it. I don’t ask permission for time off. I just take off. Fortunately, I rarely feel the need for a vacation since I work a humane, part-time schedule (20 hours per week, including administrative work). By the way, I’m in control of my schedule. I never double-book. I’m never rushed or frazzled.

• Disintermediation. By “removing the middle men” and no-value-added intermediaries, I now have more direct relationships with my patients. They requested a simplified, small office with less staff running around. So now I’m a solo doc with no staff. I don’t miss the layers of bureaucracy and administration. Nor do my 500 patients who get uninterrupted 30-minute to 60-minute appointments. I do accept most insurance plans; the ones that don’t require hoop jumping through a gazillion unfunded administrative mandates.

• Finances. Because I’m no longer supporting a bloated bureaucracy that does not support me or my patients, I have extremely low overhead. As a result, I’m taking home three times as much income from each patient visit than I had taken home per visit in my high-overhead employed positions. Yep. I make more money seeing fewer patients and I do this without charging patients any extra fees.

• Authenticity.  I dress casual, not corporate. I’m usually in Levis and clogs at work; so no white-coat hypertension. My patients appreciate that I dress like a real person. One woman exclaimed, “It’s so refreshing to meet a doctor who is a real person with a real personality.” I like being me. Why hide from my patients? I’ve never practiced professional distance. I believe professional closeness is most therapeutic.

• Fun. I have a gift basket in the exam room with prizes for patients who have lost weight, quit smoking, or achieved other health goals. Patients also receive gifts if they bicycle or walk to the office. I host random “Patient Appreciation Days” with balloons and dark-chocolate treats. I even throw clinic holiday parties — all patients are invited!

• Inspiration. What I love most about my practice is that I’ve stopped complaining about medicine. After all, if doctors are victims, patients learn to be victims. If doctors are discouraged, patients learn to be discouraged. If we want happy, healthy patients, why not start by filling our clinics with happy, healthy doctors? By enjoying private practice, I’ve inspired my colleagues to start enjoying their own careers again. Some have opened ideal clinics. Some docs have told me that I’ve saved more than their careers — I’ve saved their lives.

Want to open your own ideal clinic?

Join Dr. Wible’s teleseminar and find out how! 

 

Pamela Wible, MD, is a family physician in Oregon. She hosts biannual physician retreats to help medical students and physicians overcome burnout, depression—even suicide—so they can be happy too!  Contact Dr. Wible for a free initial consultation on how you can be a happy doctor :) Photo by Geve.

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Texas Doctor’s Craziest Text Messages →

So yesterday I get this email from a physician friend. . . 

Subject: On Call 24/7 :-)

Some on-call text messages from my patients:

“I fell better just hearing from you”

“Good deal thanks!”

“Enjoy your family this week!”

“Well, it’s official! My husband has become a true Redneck!!!! Ayyyyye! Sorry I meant to send that to my friend!!!”

“Ok, thank you! Yay no needles for two weeks! Woohoo!!!”

Video of my patient’s pot-bellied pig :-)

“So happy you got free!!!!”

“That’s because you’re awesome! Seriously, from both a patient and RN standpoint I can honestly say there just aren’t any doctors these days who actually take the time and care about their patients the way you do.  I’m excited to be a patient at your new practice! :)”

“Thank you. Needed a little good news.”

“Thanks so much. You are a jewel”

“That is such great news! I’m so glad to hear that. Thank you so much for letting me know. I’ve been worrying about it.”

And what does my friend think of being on call 24/7/365 as a solo doc for her patients? Here’s how she ends her email: “Doctors just don’t get this kind of feedback on the treadmill (when their staff do all the communicating with the patients!)  I love my patients!!  I love my job!!!”

How would YOU like a doctor like that?

Meet the happiest doctor in Texas: Jennifer Zomnir, M.D.

HappiestDoctor

Want an appointment?

For a good time call 972-218-0020

Are you a patient dreaming of an ideal doctor?  Join the ideal medical care movementAre you a doctor dreaming of your ideal clinic? Contact Dr. Wible for a free consultation on how you can have this much fun at work!

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Pamela Wible, M.D., pioneered the first ideal medical clinic designed entirely by patients. Stop suffering and follow the health care model that works for patients and docs.

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The Pap Party—The Definition of Patient-Centered Care →

There’s a gazillion scholarly articles on patient-centered care. You can even attend conferences on how to deliver patient-centered care. Or you can stop all the academic masturbation and just do it.

The Pap Party is a perfect example of patient-centered care. 

The History of the Pap Party

My patient Sandra, an uninsured woman in her fifties, calls for a physical. As I’m scheduling her, she asks if she can bring her friend Teresa who’s uninsured and needs a physical too. I reply, “Sure! Bring all your friends.” We decide to turn her appointment into a party.

One week later, bursts of laughter echo down the hall as Sandra and Teresa enter my office and sit together on the sofa. I pass around a tray of chocolate-covered strawberries as we review their medical histories. I perform both their physicals and Pap smears and an hour later we’re still cracking up. They leave with door prizes and balloons tied to their Pap specimens which they drop off at the lab. 

I celebrate the joy of Pap parties in chapter 26 of my book, Pet Goats & Pap Smears, and after reading my book a physician friend invites me to her house for a Pap party! WOW!! Since I’m late on my Pap smear, I definitely take her up on it.

In case you’ve never been to a Pap party, here’s how ya do it:

1. Cross over the railroad tracks and footbridge into the Pap Palace.

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2. Make sure you’re in the right house. Look for evidence of the Pap party.

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3. Pass out party favors, Pap smear books, and answer Pap questions.

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4. Perform Pap smears while feeding each other truffles & sipping on wine!

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5. Wish you were there? Listen to what the ladies had to say:

What do you think?

Is this patient-centered health care or what?

** P.S. My Pap smear is NORMAL!  Yay!!! **

Pamela Wible, M.D., is a pioneer in the ideal medical care movement. She helps communities design patient-centered ideal clinics. Click here to > join the movement for ideal medical care.

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Ideal Clinics: The Health Care Model That Works! →

Ideal Clinic Model

There’s a lot of complaining in health care. Here’s just a sampling of quotes from letters I’ve received this week:

Physicians:

“I’ve become so disillusioned with medicine. I don’t know who to talk to anymore or what to do with my life. I’ve lost my joy and my soul is sad.”

“I’m a specialist who is bored and sick of angry patients. What can I do?”

“If it weren’t for my faith, I would have been one of your [suicide] statistics.”

“I’m so frustrated, I want to walk away, but where does one go? It’s the same everywhere. EHR’s and conveyer-belt medicine. I feel trapped and betrayed. I want to scream when I come to work everyday. This is a nightmare.”

Health Care Professionals:

“We see patients when we ourselves need treatment. We need someone to normalize the emotion of burnout and give hope to those of us feeling vicariously traumatized by the work we perform day in and day out.”

“I am a CRNA. I lost 2 colleagues last year to suicide. I am continuously amazed that in our ‘helping’ fields people are looked down upon for needing help.”

“Idealistic me, graduated at the top of my class, but have found that working in health care seems to be one of the most corrupted and conflicting professions to be in.”

Patients:

“I really would like to find a doctor who doesn’t judge me and think I am crazy.”

“I would be happy to find a doctor who for once actually listens to me and my story.”

“I just got home from another insulting, degrading appointment and I can’t take one more visit. I am literally crying as I write to you.”

Here’s the 53-second solution:

Want to open an ideal clinic?

Contact Dr. Wible for your FREE consultation!

 

Pamela Wible, M.D., pioneered the first clinic designed entirely by patients and was just voted the 2015 Women Leader in Medicine. Inspired? Click to > join the movement for ideal medical care.

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Did you forget to thank someone? There’s still time. →

I’m a family physician in Eugene, Oregon—a sweet town where folks are pretty darn friendly.  I still do house calls. Patients often surprise me with gifts. And nearly every appointment ends with a hug.

Kindness is contagious.

I like to return the favor. So every few weeks I celebrate “patient appreciation day.” I thank patients with balloons and chocolates. Why? For picking me as their doctor, of course. I figure I’d be pretty bored without any patients.

DoctorsThankPatients

Patients are then inspired to share their appreciation with other doctors. What a great idea!

Physicians have a high rate of burnout, depression—and even suicide. Doctors treasure the cards and gifts they’ve received from patients over the years. Several docs have claimed that something as simple as a thank-you card has made their day—even saved their lives. Seriously.

AnesthesiologistThanks

Being thankful is good for your health. I keep a stash of thank-you cards with me so I’m always prepared.  As a physician, I’ve learned that the best way to deliver health care is to care. In fact, I just delivered a keynote on the importance of caring to top health care leaders.

In St. Louis.

Thanks to my pilots.

PilotsThanks

P.S. The pilot wanted to know if I was going to be the one giving the massage. Nope.

Pamela Wible., M.D., is the founder of the ideal medical care movement. To learn more about ideal care, watch her TEDx talk “How to get naked with your doctor.” Photo credits: Doctor office by Pamela Wible and GeVe. Anesthesiologist and pilots by Shutterstock.

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Physician keynote speaker shares 7 secrets to success →

Pamela Wible Keynote Speaker

I just delivered a keynote in St. Louis to 600 health care leaders from a health system with 20 hospitals, 600 clinics, and 30,000 employees. They told me not to be afraid of the 12-foot-tall version of myself following me around stage. No problem. I’m one of the few people who has never been frightened by public speaking. The larger the audience the better.

Most people avoid public speaking. But it can be incredibly fun and fulfilling to inspire people from stage. Here are 7 secrets to wow the audience with your next speech—even if it’s not a keynote:

1. Inspire & motivate – The purpose of a keynote is to energize and engage the audience while delivering a profound message. Share your primary message in a way that excites the audience and makes them feel optimism and joy. Give simple and practical tips that can be implemented in their personal and/or professional lives.

2. Tell stories –  People will remember how you make them feel and the best way to do that is with stories and anecdotes that teach your core message. Always use real-life adventures that the audience can relate to while guiding them on an emotional journey. Laughing one minute and crying the next is a good thing! And don’t be afraid to get a little edgy. People like the quirky and unexpected. So even though I was speaking at a Catholic health system with nuns in the front row, I told my erectile dysfunction story and even said a curse word or two. Yikes! I was a little nervous. But everyone laughed!

3. Be authentic – People today crave authenticity. Vulnerability is compelling so be raw and revealing. While speaking at a medical school on medical student suicide, I got real honest by reading excerpts from my med school diary that I had never shared with anyone. Guess what happened? I receive a standing ovation!

4. Love the audience – Know your audience. What they fear. What they love. Their greatest frustrations and desires. Arrive early and mingle with the guests. The more you understand your audience and their needs the better you will be received. Reference people in the room during your speech to bond with the group. This may sound really bizarre, but when I speak to medical students I feel very maternal. I’m so open-hearted, sometimes it feels like I’m breastfeeding. And I’ve never even had a baby!

5. Get active – To keep the audience engaged, get them up and out of their chairs. Ask them to do something. In the middle of my talk, I had everyone get up and hug someone. Then I taught them the right and wrong way to hug. Guess what happened afterwards? I saw people hugging up and down the hallway! And, of course, people wanted to hug me as I was leaving.

6. Call to action – Have one simple call to action. Challenge people to think and behave differently. Repeat your core message and the practical tips attendees can implement to improve their lives and careers. My basic call to action for the leaders of this Catholic health system: Love your patients. And don’t forget to hug them!

7. Have fun – A keynote is a performance. Get creative. Vary your volume, pacing, energy, and movement. Above all, enjoy yourself. Laugh. Be playful. Having fun is contagious! In retrospect, I would have liked to throw “FREE HUGS” T-shirts out to the crowd!  Next time . . .

My recent keynote isn’t online, but check out my TEDx talk “How to get naked with your doctor.” Oh yeah, always have a titillating title.

Pamela Wible TED talk

Pamela Wible, M.D., is keynote speaker and founder of the ideal medical care movement. She practices family medicine in Eugene, Oregon. 

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