Over the course of our lives we have all learned how something in our human programming is severely affected when we lose control. Whether we are the victim of economic hardship, the loss of ADLs, or even unbearable regulations and restrictions, when our locus of control is taken from us, we know how miserable we can become.
Of course, many physicians feel this desperately right now whether as a result of moving towards pay-for-performance models, increasing paperwork, decreasing compensation or EMRs. It seems hopeless to try to raise one's voice against the industry's inexorable move away from how "simple" practicing medicine "used to be" (just ten years ago.)
But let's steal a page from the Advanced Care Planning playbook for a second and see how we might apply this. In our video podcast series this month, we'll be highlighting the Honoring Choices movement which seeks to make ACP conversations a normative and progressive conversation with patients rather than one that only gets brought up in the ICU for the first time.
What you've probably witnessed as a physician is this: when patients are encouraged and empowered to have more proactive advanced care conversations, it returns a sense of control to them and their families. This is a worthy goal, even if it does not prevent them from dying.
Likewise, taking the time to document your desire with how you wish you could practice medicine - under the circumstances - and then finding out what you do have control over in your medical practice...well, this can be a fruitful conversation with your employer, staff and your family. Here are a few questions to get you started: