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Lots of new responsibilities: Looking for advice

Hey all,

I just went from being a resident with 0 administrative responsibility (except for patients) to being in charge of the pharmacy department of a 220 bed hospital with about 40 or so people I'm responsible for.

Basically I'm freaking out. I need advice and I've just bought GTD and am looking for ways to keep up before I inevitably fall behind.

Any advice, suggestions, or anecdotes would be greatly appreciated.

[Ed's note: I "bumped" this question because I missed it first time around, and I'd love to hear what sorts of advice people have. -- Merlin]

Merlin's picture

Keep it simple to keep it "trusted"

Great question, Pranish, and I'm sure folks here will have excellent suggestions for you.

Of all the professions out there, Medicine -- and particularly patient care -- is the one whose applications for GTD I've considered most challenging and potentially rewarding. I guess we'll find out now that you're getting "Management" added to the mix. :)

This one goes without saying, but I'd start by trying to simplify any workflows as much as you're able. To paraphrase Strunk & White, "omit needless parts." I know that's easier said than done in a field that's full of intractable policies and ingrained mores. But, since it sounds like you'll have a lot coming at you from minute to minute, it will be important to avoid duplicate efforts, ad hoc one-offs, and any kind of "open loop" (term from the book you're reading) that will cause you to second guess what you're doing in the moment. You need to know where stuff goes in this new environment, and the faster that becomes a "no-look pass" for you, the easier the game will be.

Next, I'd make a point of having a capture device that you really trust. For most MDs I know that's either a Palm or (believe it or not) a Hipster PDA. When my wife and I were in the hospital for our daughter's delivery in October, I saw at least half a dozen nurses, attendings, and residents who used index cards for everything they needed to track or remember for later (and, no, not a single one had any idea who I was). Whatever system you choose, make sure you can capture task, ideas, and what have you instantly -- so much so that you don't even have to consciously think about it.

The thread through these two is that the busier (and more interrupted) that you are, the more you'll need to rely on a "trusted system" for making sure the critical stuff gets done right. With all due respect to doctors, there's a kind of macho ethos around the hours, the responsibility, and the "stuff" you're supposed to keep sorted using your brain alone. That will work for some folks, but I'd encourage you to be open to very simple compensatory systems that don't require you to, as I like to say, treat your mind as either an alarm clock or a white board. Know what I mean?

Best of luck, and I'll look forward to hearing how things go for you!




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