FREEDOM IN PRACTICE

Dr. Tejal Lathia

One of the biggest fears in setting up a private practice is that you are all alone, and the mistakes you make can have lasting repercussions on the lives of the people you treat. This fear is often greatest at the start and gradually diminishes as you learn to handle the challenges inherent in private practice. 

This fear is paradoxical, both necessary and unnecessary. 

FEAR is necessary as it keeps you from becoming complacent. 

Many times, in a busy private practice, it is difficult to keep up with the latest advances in our field. Especially in the early years, rushing from one hospital to another, trying to set up a patient base. It is well-nigh impossible to stay updated.

With free access to the latest scientific literature on the internet, there is a real danger of being caught out by a patient or their caregivers. Also, as great as your clinical acumen may be, as great as your knowledge and rank may be, the human body can flummox the best of us even on our good days.

So, the fear keeps you on your toes. Pushes you to read, learn and relearn, essential skills for all doctors.

On the other hand, FEAR is unnecessary because you can always ask for help. 

However, asking for help can be a huge stumbling block for many doctors.

Why the fear of asking for help? 

The environment in a medical college is competitive and you get accolades for being right all the time. To admit that you may not have all the answers, or you are not perfect is difficult for many to accept. 

Fear of looking foolish, fear of being judged or being thought unworthy or undeserving of your position. But this is false ego.

When we truly care about patients and their outcomes, then fear and ego need to be set aside. You can reach out for help from seniors, colleagues, and even juniors. And most of the time, help is freely given without any censure or criticism. It safeguards not only your patient but you as well. You are saved from making unintended errors and inviting medicolegal hassles.

This is true independence. Freedom from worry and anxiety. Practicing in peace, knowing that you have an army of people who came before you at your side. 

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