Viewpoint: Make it a great day

July 9, 2010

Whether you've been in practice 40 years or 40 days, there are likely some workdays that stand out from others--some for good reasons, some for not-so-good reasons.

After the surgery, I thanked the orthopedist for his expertise and for giving up time with his wife on a Sunday, on Valentine's Day, to help ensure the odds would be in my grandmother's favor. When I said this, he was silent for what seemed like a long time. He then told me that in his entire career, this was maybe only the third time a patient or patient's family member had acknowledged something along those lines. The surgeon told me I had made his day. And frankly, he made mine.

Whether you've been in practice for 40 years or 40 days, there are likely some workdays that stand out from others-some for good reasons, and some for not-so-good ones. Perhaps one of your best days involved something unforgettable, such as making a complex diagnosis that saved a patient's life. Or maybe it was a simple gesture that at first seemed to be almost inconsequential but that left you beaming. The bad days also may be memorable, many times for reasons that were out of your control.

We talked with doctors who find joy in what they do on a daily basis, from unexpected sources such as hospice work or from heart-felt approaches to care such as treating patients as if they were family members. Perhaps the joy they have found in perfectly ordinary and simply extraordinary ways will inspire you, too.

Of course, doing what you love and loving what you do should go hand-in-hand. Michael Hafran, MD, and book author Jeff Garton explore the differences between job satisfaction and career contentment. They explain how you can have control over your career contentment even if there are external factors related to job satisfaction that you can't control (sound familiar?).

What brings you joy and makes a day great? What's the worst day or best day you can recall in your career? Please drop me a note at tstultz@advanstar.com
. By the way, it brings me great joy to report that my grandmother is doing incredibly well following her well-timed hip surgery.