No one is born to be a doctor. Becoming an excellent medical practitioner requires tremendous hard work and passion for the profession. However, some doctors look like they were born to be doctors, with an ability to put up an amicable patient-doctor rapport, calmness of character, and concern for others’ welfare.
These doctors contribute to strengthening the healthcare industry as they produce better results for patients, inspire staff morale, increase productivity across various departments of a hospital or institution, and reduce staff turnover rates, which costs money to train new employees every year.
Furthermore, hospitals often seek these types of “golden doctors” for their excellent patient rapport and interpersonal skills, allowing them to move up the ladder quickly. Picking out these gilt-edged doctors is crucial for any healthcare institution to maintain quality care for patients.
The counterpoint is that it takes a tremendous amount of effort and expertise not only to become an excellent doctor but also to remain one throughout your professional medical career. Doctors are subjected to heavy workloads, which often translate into stress in their personal lives, long hours that take away precious family time, and more.
Recruiting new doctors who can handle the demanding nature of the job can be problematic, especially in a country with a rapidly aging population and a serious lack of healthcare professionals overall. It is necessary to retain doctors they have already invested time and money in or face high costs associated with employee turnover rates.
Here are some ideas to achieve that:
1. Increase Pay for Those Willing to Work on Critical Days/Shifts
Despite the common perception that a doctor’s salary is substantial, not all doctors can afford to work full-time without taking other jobs. Their monthly income may only be enough to cover overheads such as living expenses and school loans. In addition, some doctors have families to support.
Unless they enjoy their profession or do not mind working long hours every day, many junior doctors will opt to take up part-time jobs outside of medicine to maintain financial stability. This often makes them categorized as part-time contract doctors who are only available during weekdays and may not be called in on public holidays.
This would defeat the purpose of retaining golden doctors as it is very difficult to facilitate a good working environment for those with fluctuating schedules. To retain these junior doctors, one option is to offer them a substantial pay increase if they agree to work on critical days/shifts such as weekends and public holidays where patient throughput tends to peak. Such an incentive package can often help retain golden doctors even though it increases the costs of paying them a higher salary.
2. Encourage Teamwork among Junior Doctors
Although most patients believe that seniority equates to knowledge, this does not always ring true in the medical field. Many senior doctors are too busy to teach junior ones due to their heavy patient load, and they do not have enough time to keep up with new information in medicine.
Therefore, hospitals need to create an environment where young doctors can benefit from working together in teams to encourage communication and push each other’s limits toward furthering their overall professional development or career progression.
3. Provide Sufficient Social Amenities
Many golden doctors decide on taking up a profession in medicine because they want the opportunity to interact with people daily through tackling health-related problems instead of engaging in back-office work such as data entry or accounts receivable management.
This makes it important for hospitals to provide doctors with the necessary amenities to relax after hours, such as in-house gyms, cafes with Wi-Fi access (for shift workers), and even lounges where they can congregate for casual chats.
However, healthcare facilities can also minimize the workload doctors face daily by opting to outsource medical customer support and other front and back-end tasks, which can eat up a huge chunk of their time away from providing quality patient care.
4. Allow Doctors to Seek Counseling from a Neutral Third Party if Needed
This is especially important for younger doctors who might not have had enough time or experience dealing with patients before graduating college such that even the slightest hint of criticism can lead to feelings of distress and anxiety.
By having an external voice that acts as a mediator between both parties involved in the disagreement, everyone will resolve whatever issue stands between them without any form of emotional baggage hindering the process.
Additionally, this could be a preventative measure by giving medical students extra training on how best to deal with colleagues before they are thrust into the workforce without prior experience.
It takes a great amount of effort and time to train doctors to take care of patients physically and emotionally. It would be an absolute waste if they fell by the wayside because they took on more than their bodies could handle.
It is therefore important for hospitals to create a work environment that prevents doctor burnout. By creating such a work culture, everybody involved in the medical profession will live a healthier and happier life.