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5 tips for doctor engagement

Outreach and respect are key to keeping doctors engaged in a hospital setting

Hospitals know they must keep their physicians engaged, but often find themselves at a loss as to how to accomplish this. Dan Wittlock, consulting physician with Physician Wellness Services, works with hospitals on how to keep physicians engaged. Here are five of his engagement tips:

1. Respect. Wittlock says something as simple as respect is often overlooked in a hospital, Wittlock said, but it is very important to physicians. “They’ve done a lot to get to where they are,” he said. Physicians are an integral part of the hospital, and as such, administrators should be open to letting physicians add input to crucial decisions that affect the whole organization.“They want opportunities to lead and participate in organizational decision making,” Wittlock said.

2. Reach out. Hospital administrators need to make more efforts to reach out to physicians, Wittlock said. Administrators should hold large meetings in which physicians can voice their opinions, have an open door policy and just go around the facility and ask physicians their opinions. “The informal way of doing things is very effective,” he said.

3. Foster good relationships. Administrators should help physicians connect with one another with events such as golf tournaments or group bicycle rides. And if or when conflicts do arise, they should address the problems.

4. Good life balance Physicians have never been accused of not working enough and are often in danger of burning out. Administrators and physicians need to work together to create a culture in which a good life balance can help avoid the burnout, Wittlock said. “Most docs are in denial until it happens,” he said. “Docs should be really looking for a healthy balance.”

5. Time management. Physicians need to have more control over how their time is spent. Typically, administrators decide their workload and patient schedule, but physicians should have more say about their schedules, said Wittlock. Giving physicians more say helps create healthier and stronger relationships with administrators, Wittlock said. “You need strong physician/admin relationships.”

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