It's Time to Reconnect the Docs

With spring finally ready to blow off winter for good this year, and continuing deceleration of COVID infections in our area, our board has deemed it safe to begin regathering our members. It has been a long year of telehealth adaptations, Zoom meetings and conferences, and culling the number of active relationships. But it is time for us to emerge from the wreckage that many members have experienced due to the pandemic.

As we begin to reconvene, let us think about the emotional triage we can provide one another, because nobody has escaped from this year significantly unscathed. By listening carefully to each other’s stories, traumas, triumphs, and trials, we honor each other’s journey through this past year and validate the difficulties and growth that may have come from it.

Our listening skills may have grown a bit rusty, so we might need to practice them as we get used to face-to-face informal and social events again. I encourage you to ask questions that pry deeper than you might otherwise, not offer any swift advice, and flex that empathy muscle. Also, be willing to share more of your true self with others if you feel safe enough to be vulnerable. When we are emotionally wrung out, our tendency is to isolate, but our real need is to tend and befriend.

We also need to reattach to one another professionally. There are new doctors in town and in practice who need to get to know each other and others who you most certainly have not yet met. We might think that ACO’s have done away with the need for cross-system referrals and consults, but fortunately, that is still not the case entirely here in the Treasure Valley. Getting outside of our employer silos creates a vibrant medical community to better serve our patients.

Here are several ways you might consider reengaging with the broader medical community via our website and in-person this year:

1) Summertime Gatherings –Our five informal picnics in Boise, Eagle, and Meridian are planned as no-host, bring-your-own-dinner events. They will provide ample space to spread out with your family, catch up with other members, and enjoy the great outdoors. Our first is this coming Tuesday May 18th, at Ivywild Park in SE Boise. RSVPs are optional and you can view all our events online as well as our health and safety guidelines. ACMS will provide non-alcoholic beverages for the first 50 people and a shelter to hang out around in the park.

2) ACMS Mentor Program – We all have had the benefit of gaining the input of somebody who has “been that way before” and we have been wanting to organize this for some time. Typically, mentoring programs in various medical schools, residencies, practice groups or hospitals might be more formalized relationships, but this is not our intent. These would more likely be ad hoc, short-term connections and allow the relationship to organically grow on its own into whatever is mutually and professionally beneficial.

In a new, member-only section of our website, you can now sign up to be an informal mentor to another member or search for others. Fill out the form stating some of the ways you might help (career guidance, developing specialty clinical skills, moving towards retirement, etc.) and how members should get in touch with you. If you are seeking a mentor, you can search on a variety of fields such as degree, gender, specialty, and mentor availability.

3) ACMS Find-a-Friend – ACMS previously launched this initiative a couple years ago as “Affinity Groups,” and they never quite took. But we now have a way for members to update what kind of extracurricular activities and hobbies they enjoy that others in ACMS might connect around. These span the gamut from beer making to Bible study, from camping to cooking, and from target shooting to trivia nights. Let others know what you enjoy doing in your off time and find time to connect with them on your own initiatives.

4) Creative Arts Showcase – This is not quite ready for prime time, but we are starting to build the foundation for members to be able to show off their artistic talents, first by asking what they are interested in or create. This is a riff off the affinity interests, with a bevy of artistic pursuits available to choose from and connect around. There is no commitment to show your work to anybody else by expressing what you pursue privately. Eventually though, we will create a space to spotlight members’ art.

5) Members Resource Library Later this year and into 2022, we will be building out a bigger members’ only resource area that will include recorded medical education, physician well-being topics, organizational and practice management tips, business and personal services recommendations, and more; we are interested in knowing what resources would be most helpful for you to have access to.

For example, although we do not print our member directory anymore because it is completely searchable online, we are going to create downloadable PDF versions of the most popular elements such as the “Handy Dandy Physician Phone Directory” that many of you kept nearby. We are also investigating ways to have a live “physician lounge” online for swing by interactions with other members

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