Everyone working in health care today knows that tremendous change is just the normal way of getting through another day in the workplace. Change is taking place at every level of health care, from training physicians in medical school to using newer technologies to diagnose and treat patients. One example of how physician training is changing is how some medical schools are changing who gets in and who does not get in. In the past it has been all about academics, such as your MCAT or medical college admissions test score, your GPA, how advanced your organic chemistry classes were, so heavy emphasis was on IQ or intelligence quotient.
Today many schools are looking at other areas such as EQ or emotional quotient. Yes, a good IQ is still heavily valued but health care providers today must also have high EQ scores. The reason for this are the changes in health care. Today, physicians must work in a team concept delivering excellent health care via creative partnerships that solve complex problems. Higher EQs work best in team environments. I read an article not long ago that said 80 percent of health care dollars are spent on the sick while 20 percent are spent on prevention. This is a big area of change in health care as we move from paying physicians for their volume of work to the value of the work they perform. This change states that we are moving from a reimbursement-based model to a more evidence-based model of health care delivery or a change from reactive medicine to a proactive approach.
Technologies are creating other areas of rapid change in health care. Patient powered health care is on the rise with advances in telemedicine. Today patients can access their health data and even create their own health data with technologies such as Fitbit or with any of the many other wearable devices that generate bio data. New sensor technology will include glucometers on smartphones to monitor sugar levels or analyze ECGs or to predict epileptic seizures. New technologies in 3D printing will afford patients the ability to have personalized parts made, such as knee and hip joints for replacement.
They say the only constant is change and nowhere is that more evident than in today’s health care. Besides providing better health care, what do you think is another by-product of all this change? You guessed it, stress. So how do we deal with all this change and stress and still perform at our peak on the job? I propose you deal with these changes along with the added stress by your mindset. Your “mindset” is a lens or frame of mind, which orients you to a particular set of associations and expectations. A perfect example of this is shown in patient studies dealing with pain. When a health provider gives patients an analgesic at the bedside, they report a marked improvement in their pain level. However if the same amount of morphine is given without the patient’s knowledge the pain levels do not decrease at the same levels as the patient that had the expectation of getting relief by knowing the drug was administered. The patient’s mindset was that they were going to get relief, and they did. This is one of the reasons there is an audible tone every time a patient pushes the button on a PCA pump. This study repeated with other types of data prove that psychological and physiological effects are influenced by your mindset.
There are two ways to look at stress, either stress is debilitating or enhancing. We know that stress creates more adrenaline in the body. If your mindset about stress is that adrenaline diminishes your ability to think clearly, deteriates your focus, drive and performance then stress would be debilitating in your mindset. However, if your mindset is that adrenaline fuels the body and the mind with extra blood and oxygen, increases energy and alertness to enhance your drive, performance and decision making you have an enhanced mindset of stress.
You have the ability to change your mindset on just about any subject. So, how would one change a mindset? It boils down to how your brain works. Your brain always does what it thinks is in your best interest. Your brain is also hardwired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Your brain will tell you what you say to yourself in words and pictures. So, to change your mindset, you must collaborate with your brain. Here is an example: If you don’t enjoy your work and don’t want to go, your brain will give you reasons why you should not go to work, as it’s always seeking pleasure. However, if you collaborate with your brain about all the good things associated with your work the brain will find reasons why you should go.
When I find myself falling into that mindset of not wanting to go to work, I always remind myself that if I go to work I may have the opportunity to change someone’s life. This invariably makes me get out the door and off to work. This is the entire point of this article. To help provide for the best patient outcomes we all must perform at our best and that includes having the right mindset.
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