Below are the episode show notes and transcript. Some episode transcripts have been edited more than others, but they are up in the meantime to help those who would rather read and for searchability on the web. Extensive editing has not been prioritized as I seek to both produce regular content and maintain my own wellness. Enjoy

Show Notes

Asking for help…

In medicine…

Can be simple or complex.

Sometimes we make the ask

Other times we need to…but don’t.

Check out episode 27 to hear more about asking your colleagues for help in medicine and why it matters!


Can I run something by you really quick? Do you have time to come look at this rash with me? How have you handled situations like this in the past with your patients? What things do you wish that you had known earlier in your career? If you’ve asked for help from colleagues or realized that you needed to please stick around this episode is for you.

Thank you so much for joining me here on episode twenyy seven of the MedEdWell podcast. Thank you so much for listening, for subscribing, for sharing and for engaging on social media. But today we’re gonna be talking about asking for help from colleagues in four different ways. We’ll be talking about asking for help and why it matters both for personal and for professional wellness. We’ll be looking at asking for input and advice help when you have high clinical volumes coverage.

When you have time off for coverage in emergencies or difficult situations. So before we get into the rest of today’s episode, let’s hear from today’s sponsor. Getting a financial education seems daunting until you realize that you did way harder things in medical training, the white coat investor has been promoting financial literacy for since 2011 and has great courses to help you make a financial plan, evaluate financial advice and pursue your wellness. CME is included on some of the courses, making them a perfect fit for those unused professional funds. I have personally taken the fire, your financial advisor course and found it super valuable in my own financial education. I encourage you to visit link in the show notes and consider signing up for a white coat investor course today. All right now, back to today’s episode.

Medical training can be isolating. Beyond the cliques that form from study groups in the first year of medical school, there are varied rotations during third and fourth year where you are expected to know all the answers about your patients and the rest of the team patients.

And does real collaboration help you stand out for honors in those situations for letters of recommendation, especially with limitations on learners at times during the pandemic from medical school through training and after medical training, particularly for physicians has been very individualistic, your stuff, done, highlighting individual achievement, and the list could go on. It can be easy to forget, or just miss the value of collaboration, community and colleagues. So how can we build some of those connections that interdependence and collaboration by asking our colleagues for help? So we’re gonna talk about four different ways that you can ask for help from your colleagues and how that helps your wellness. So the first area is clinically, like we talked about in the intro, maybe they come see a rash with you. Maybe you ask for a second opinion. As you have some interesting exam finding, maybe you discuss a particular clinical scenario.

What’s your current practice for this particular condition? How do you handle this difficult family social dynamic or give unexpected news like this? Personally, it’s been super helpful to have senior colleagues in my office, especially as my residency program, like many have a high emphasis on inpatient medicine rather than ambulatory. It could also be helpful to have input from colleagues around career advice, mentoring. It could be a few steps ahead, or maybe even one of your peers that just has done some stuff that’s been different from your experience. And you want their input could be what to look for in a job clinical practice leadership opportunities or their experience going through burnout. So first ask your colleagues for input and advice clinically, but then second, ask them for help. When you have really high volumes, I found it helpful to check in with my colleagues from time to time, whether in the hallway or the workroom, just say, Hey, how are you doing?

It’s open ended and caring. There may something else going on, but maybe they just sent a patient to the emergency department. And now they’re behind in clinic and you jumping in to see a patient for them would be really appreciated, but I ask, Hey, do you need me to see one for you? And then let them respond. Shuffling patients around. Yes. At times staff do it can be totally appropriate, but sometimes having the physicians and nurse practitioners have input together can be really beneficial, not only for the workload, but also for trying to maintain continuity. Maybe it’s unifying a visit for a family that has siblings scheduled with two different people, maybe it’s oh, I saw that you’ve seen this patient for the last two years. You wanna see them or do you or me see them once and then send them back to you.

Maybe it’s different languages. I personally speak Spanish and others in my clinic speak Farsi and French. So maybe there’s some ability to make the patients feel more comfortable by speaking in their preferr language, rather than having to use an interpreter. It’s not always possible, but when it is, it may be good for the physician and for the patient. So with the high volumes, checking in and caring for colleagues and showing some flexibility, it’s part of how each of us need to ask for help, whether it’s for input and advice with high volumes in some of these situations or number three, when it comes to taking time off in episode 15, I talked about taking your time off. And when you do need to actually be off trying not to log in the system, your email, let your colleagues cover your messages and your paperwork, ask them, would you be willing to cover my inbox this particular week and then offer to cover theirs volunteer when needs come up and keeping that serve first mentality can really be an opportunity to say, Hey, we are a community or a family.

And even if you’re not, it still gives you an opportunity to be away and not feel like work is coming after you all the time. Email in particular has been especially hard for me. So I had a few weeks off a couple months ago where I checked, cause I knew open enrollment was coming, but otherwise I didn’t check it previously. I had it on my phone and I checked it a lot even sometimes on vacation, but after a month long disruption to email in my system and hearing about a colleague who never puts work email on their phone, I realized I could get by without it I’d check it when I was at work and catch up on things. So when I was off, I was off and so I didn’t put it back on my phone. It’s been great. So asking colleagues for help first with input and advice clinically with high volumes of patients, number three, when you take routine time off and number four in emergencies or other difficult situations, occasionally family emergencies happen.

You may need to go to leave work relatively quickly and you may need coverage telling only those who need to know or that you feel comfortable with, but even some of these urgent, but not emergent situations sometimes by just asking, maybe your colleague would see your last patient. So you could go to something that you really would benefit from being able to be supportive or someone else around you. Whether it’s a family member or friend, something came up and it’s about caring for one another. Maybe clinically things are hard, your patient passed away, or you had some other hard outcome and you just need some time to reflect, to take a moment. Maybe your colleague sees the next admission, or maybe there’s some other way that you can maintain coverage and just have a time to process acknowledge that you are human. And these things are hard physicians and other medical professionals are still human beings.

We need to remember that caring for ourselves and for each other. So I want you to take a moment with me and pause. Imagine what it would look like if you asked colleagues for help, for advice, for help with high volumes during your planned time off or in hard or emergent situations, how would you feel if by asking colleagues offered that assistance, could it improve team culture, making you feel like you had each other’s backs that you’re not just a machine churning out procedures and visits that actually a real human being personally and professionally, these things boost wellness. So take that next step in your wellness today. Thank you so much for joining me here on episode 27 of the MedEdWell podcast, please subscribe, share this episode and leave us a review. You can also follow me in social media, over at MedEdWell on Instagram and Twitter, you course, to help you with your financial wellness, check out a white coat investor course. Some of those even include some CME. Most of all, thank you so much for all. You do caring for patients and others in our communities. Please come back and join me for the next episode and have a great day.