That time of day slowly creeps in. As I wait for a result or report or a patient, my mind wanders. My back slouches and I start craving the sugared donations accumulating in the lounge. I think about the task list, forms, and calls waiting for me after the last patient has been seen. The day fades and the feeling in my stomach manifests the tension between the Hippocratic Oath and my wedding vows.
They will be cared for – my patients and my family – because as doctors we place the needs of others before our own. (Often not unaware of how intertwined they are.) And slipping into a cerebellar state for my ride home, I wonder: is there a better way? I believe there is.
As we prepare to negotiate the next Physician Master Agreement we have the opportunity to continue advocating for a better healthcare system. But what does better look like?
How do we define team-based care and encourage practicing to scope, especially in light of the government’s recent announcement to train 200 more nurse practitioners? What is quality and how do we measure it? How can we improve relationships with government and health authorities?
How can doctors spend more time doctoring? Will EMRs be able to fill their promise to improve care and efficiency? Can we eradicate the requests for sick notes and unnecessary paper work? Who is responsible for efficient referral processes? What is the value of clinical and business autonomy especially with rising costs of living and running a business?
How can we balance caring for our patients, our communities, our systems, and ourselves? What about parental and sick leave and child care? Would national licensing and privileging help get doctors where they are needed? How would our patients’ health be improved with universal pharmacare, dental care, physiotherapy, mental health services? And what does it look like when all doctors feel included and respected?
Such ideas are strongest when shared. So, as I start my term as president, I want to hear from you on what “Better” looks like. “Together” we can turn dreams into reality.