Interactions with the staff
-Greet all the staff in the morning.
-Speak evil of no one.
-Ask often, "What can I do to make your job easier?" I like to say, "I'm like Play-Doh. I am giving you permission to mold me into a better physician."
-Seek ways to make your staff more efficient.
-Refrain from having people call you by your first name. Maintain a high level of respect for your staff and vice versa by having them address you as "doctor".
Interactions with Colleagues
-Never be afraid to ask for a consult (help).
-Admit when you are wrong.
-Strive to learn from the patients you refer in order to improve your own skills.
-Ask for a follow-up on the status of a patient that you referred.
-Ask your colleagues questions related to their practice, clinical and surgical skills.
-Provide new information to your colleagues with gentleness and respect. Remember, they may be using older terminology (Background Diabetic Retinopathy instead of Mild, Moderate and Severe Non-Proliferate Diabetic Retinopathy; Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP) instead of PK; Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) instead of AMD.
-Always be willing to help... be the ultimate team player.
-Remember colleagues' birthdays and special family occasions. It is time to think beyond you. Consider the needs of others above your own.
Interactions with Consulting Physicians
-Introduce yourself to all optometrists, ophthalmologists and physicians in your area. This will help build your practice.
-Dictate letters not only for consults (which is required), carbon copy (CC) the letter to all doctors involved in the patient's care.
-Provide information in your consult letter that is educational. Thank the individual in the letter for the consult and call them personally when possible. Providing a high quality letter will surely build your reputation.
-Attend many community functions to meet the public.
-Volunteer to speak at community organizations and health fairs.
-Coordinate a lecture series involving a broad spectrum of physicians, from the podiatrist to the ophthalmologist. Possible subjects: diabetes and the latest diagnostic and treatment modalities.
Interactions with patients
-When meeting a patient for the first time, introduce yourself as "doctor" and address them as "Mr." or "Mrs." Ask permission to call them by their first name. For instance, "Good Morning, Mr. Amsler" or "Do you prefer to be called Marc or Mr. Amsler?" Make a note of their preference in the chart.
-Remember the small details about your patient (child going to college, marriage, etc.)
Add a sticky note to the chart for reference for the next visit (tape the sticky note to the chart or a make a note in your electronic file.
-Patients requiring more time to discuss their issues should be scheduled at the end of the day (complicated cases, difficult personalities, or patients with family members seeking information). Let them know that you want to provide enough time to spend with them in order to answer their questions.
-It's all right to say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."
-Send emails to your patients on Web site references or articles related to their specific eye condition.
-Send birthday cards to patients. Ask the patient's permission to send mail or e-mail from the practice.
-Strive to improve your surroundings (re-organize the cabinets, develop an educational video for your patients, etc.).
-Call patients the evening of their surgery.
-Be respectful of everybody, even when it is 2:30 in the morning.
-Remember, you have a specific skill that a person needs. Be grateful for the opportunity to serve someone.
-Create a special on-call bag with all the instruments and drops you may need. Be prepared for any ophthalmic emergency.
-Obtain CPR certification and ACLS certification. Know the basics of emergency care (ABCs). Remember, we are physicians first.
-Spend time with family and friends. Get reacquainted with your family since you are done with your formal training.
-Begin financial planning for you and your family.
-Do not over-commit. Remember, studying for boards is the top priority.
-Remain enthusiastic. You are practicing ophthalmology.