Provider Practice Essentials registered nurse continuing education

15 Ways to Measure Success as a Clinician

1. Are you helping people?

Ultimately that’s what we do.. I remember my admissions interview to school when they asked,” why do you want to be so and so..” I want to help people is what I said. I think that’s the most common answer. Isn’t that really why we do what we do?…sometimes we get so bogged down with computers, dictating, billing and administration we forget. Now as a clinician you may not be working code 99’s all day and saving lives all the time. You might be suturing, treating colds, coughs and sore throats.. but are you helping people? And are you satisfied with that? 

2. Character in stress.

Our Character is easily tested on a Sunday morning at church but how are you performing when every ounce of restraint is required. When you’re spread too thin and feel like you’re drowning from the patient load. How are you treating those around you? Are you dropping the F bomb? Throwing stuff? Or do you ignore everyone? “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your Character, it becomes your destiny” – unknown. 

3. Graciousness towards others.

As hero’s in this world there are few professional athletes or movie stars that are routinely gracious to others, but those few are my heroes. They have a realization that the world is largely unfair and that people come from a variety of backgrounds. No one is truly self made successful or completely put together. As a result, these few are quick to extend grace and mercy to others. Maybe it’s going the extra mile to get a warm blanket or turkey sandwich. Maybe walking someone to the bathroom or picking up some trash on the floor. 

4. Gratitude despite the situation.

Those who can find the silver lining in any situation are truly blessed. The ones who can find enough good in any situation are truly focused on the right things. Those who are focused on the right things tend to model their lives toward those things and can be examples to others. I find that being thankful for what I have and where I’m at right now makes me the happiest. “ Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Zig Ziglar 

5. Courage during adversity.

Some say courage can only be revealed when it is required. As a clinician it can take on many different forms. It could be in giving that difficult news to a spouse or loved one, it could be asking for a raise or talking to a difficult colleague or supervisor. “ Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision…” Sir Winston Churchill 

6. Faithfulness in commitment.

Those whose words are true, who have integrity in our day and time should be commended. Whether it’s a hand shake, a marriage vow, a contract or commitment. It’s a promise to a friend or an agreement with a patient. Follow through is important. 

7. Generosity in abundance.

A mindset of abundance truly does bring more abundance. Often times it doesn’t have to be material possessions. It can be a word, or hug, a minute of time to be present or an hour for someone in need. 

8. Honesty in difficulty.

Sometimes during the most difficult times it is the hardest to be completely honest with others. Dishonesty is often the easiest or quickest way to get to a desired outcome. Maybe it’s a little stretching of the truth or omitting some of the facts. Being completely honest with others and yourself is a sign of great personal growth. 

9. Hope during heartache.

When you experience the inevitable heartbreak or have observed it closely with your patients. Simple optimism is not enough, there is a deeper greater hope that can only emerge from a source greater than ourselves. When you find it, it can be one of the greatest powers in the world. 

10. Humility in accomplishment.

How many times have you had the slam dunk case and just like a roofer, nailed it…It’s so easy to toot your own horn, and it feels good. However likely with a little thought, as clinicians, many people played a role in that success. From the triage person that got the vitals to the custodian that cleaned the room. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Rick Warren. 

11. Inspiration in relationships.

Whether we realize it or not we are all in relationships with others. From the 2 min contact with patients, to the 8 hr shift with a doctor. Relationships should not just be for personal gain but to bring out the best in others, a word or advice, or just listening. How many times have you worked with a colleague going through divorce, or breakup, a lawsuit or bankruptcy, child support case or dead beat parent. Often times the chatting in the background or between cases is the most important. Sometimes the ones hurting the most are not the patients but the people we work with. 

12. Integrity in details.

Sometimes all the little things make up the much bigger ones. In a notoriously stressful profession where you’re expected to be fast, fluid and 100% accurate attention to detail is a must. Develop routines to pay attention to details. Doing the same thing repeatedly develops habits, and habits are good. 

13. Kindness to the weak.

In our profession we see all types of people. Usually the people with the least are the ones in need of the most kindness, yet sometimes they don’t receive it. Because they have no way to immediately repay it. When kindness is shown for the sake of repayment, it is an investment – not true kindness. Kindness is truly shown to people who can never repay it. Our true measure of success is how we treat those people. 

14. Perseverance in failure.

I was told once in Medicine there is no failure only learning. That’s why they call it practicing medicine, you never quite get it all. Sometimes it takes mistakes to learn. We live in a society where we are expected as clinicians to be right all the time. It’s liberating sometimes not to know stuff. I’ve gone into a patients’ room in the Emergency and said” I don’t know what it is… I just know you’re not going to die.” How many times have you had a patient come back from a college or from a hospital and automatically assumed “ they didn’t know what they were doing”. Is there a teaching point to help improve someone’s practice? Did you take the time to help? 

15. Responsibility for mistakes.

Finally someone can say it.. I’m human. I mess up. I might not have ordered that lab, I may have forgotten to discharge that patient or even talk to them. I read a survey that said often times in a lawsuit the plaintiff would have not sued if the provider had just “ taken responsibility for his/her mistake.” It’s hard to do, I know and I’m not saying to first talk to your legal team but sometimes admitting a mistake and asking for forgiveness can eliminate a lot of heartache and stress. Think about it, there’s no fight if you’re agreeing. 

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