BLOG: Use your physician ‘superpowers’ during the coronavirus epidemic
Regardless of specialty, all us physicians are struggling during this pandemic to manage our patients, our practices, and our lives. We often forget that we doctors have “superpowers” to influence those around us for the better. Here are some thoughts on what superheroes would do today to help others, despite all the uncertainty.
1. Get your priorities straight. For our practice, our priorities have always been #1 our patients, #2 our employees, #3 ourselves, and #4 everyone else, like vendors, the landlord, etc. While we are facing tough decisions, we usually make the right ones when we keep this order in mind.
2. Focus on your own physical and mental health. Do everything possible to maintain an exercise regimen. Sleep 8 hours a night. Meditate. Pray. It all works. And of course, observe the same safety precautions you require of your staff and family. Don’t let a virus be your kryptonite.
3. Reach out to your community. Many people, especially the elderly, are feeling isolated and scared. If you have extra time on your hands, use it to make their world better. Reach out by phone or Facetime. Laugh with them. As a physician, use your superpower to calm them and give them peace, just as you do with scared patients. Even if you are telling people what they already know about how to stay well, the effect will last for days. Whether it’s neighbors, friends, or relatives they will always remember that you thought of them.
4. If you have a strained relationship with a relative or old friend, now is the time to contact them and, as a physician, ask if they are well. Rising above conflict during a time of vulnerability, you can build a bridge for the future.
5. Tell your children to keep a journal. Society has never experienced a time like this. Whether your kids are six or 36, they should record what they are seeing, thinking, and feeling. They are all living through history. Future generations will thank them for this perspective.
In our careers, there will probably be no better opportunity to deliver on our reason for becoming physicians. Let’s use our superpowers when they’re needed most. I welcome your emails with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or @DrHovanesian.
Disclosures: Hovanesian reports no relevant financial disclosures.