September 2010

Craftsmanship for Doctors – Part 2

Craftsmanship for doctors, again?  Yep! It’s an important and often overlooked aspect of being an excellent doctor.

You can read part 1 by clicking HERE.

It’s a vital component of the joy every doctor needs for a fulfilling career.

Craftsman style house designed by Gustav Stickley, known as "The Craftsman"

As I go around the country speaking to groups and promoting my new book Reclaim the Joy of Practice– An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors, I love asking credible authorities this question “What do doctors need to get and keep more joy in their practice?” One of the consistent answers I get is that doctors need to put more emphasis on their skill and art (craftsmanship).

The craftsmanship is suffering because doctors are under more pressure and have more responsibilities than ever before. My friend Ed Petty, co-owner of the country’s best practice management consulting firm called Petty, Michel and Associates (PM&A); likes to tell doctors “Give your patients your best and delegate the rest!” That’s great advice, and to give patients the best service, doctors need to continually refine and improve their skills.

Ed Petty from PM&A practice management

For years it was thought that many extraordinary experts like Tiger Woods, Einstein, Beethoven, and even Yoyo Ma were child prodigies, naturally born talented people. But investigators noticed a common thread when looking back at their histories – they spent an extraordinary amount of time practicing their skill. And they continued to refine their skills throughout their life.

So, this constant quest for improvement is one of the tools that will bring a doctor closer to being a craftsman.

Craftsmanship is the basic human impulse to do a job well for its own sake, it involves developing skills and focusing on the work rather than ourselves.  The key words are “developing” and “ourselves”. The “developing” part means repetition and perseverance. The “ourselves” part means that we don’t do it selfishly – we work towards being craftsman because it will benefit our higher purpose. For doctors the higher purpose is to help people with their health. The material rewards will follow.

Zig Ziglar, the world famous motivational speaker loves to repeat “You can get anything you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

One of several ways I’ve enjoyed refining my own skills is to seek out and follow true “craftsman like” doctors. I share my observations of those doctors I call “giants” in Chapter 1 of my book Reclaim the Joy of Practice. You can order the eBook securely by clicking HERE.

I taught a class called Craftsmanship for Doctors at a recent PM&A seminar in Boston recently. In the class were doctors of all experience levels. One of the docs had been practicing for nearly 50 years and he said that every doctor needs to continually strive for more skill. After all those years in practice, one might think that he would either know it all or gave up trying. But no, he went on to explain that he feels joy with the mere act of learning for the benefit of his patients. Amazingly good statement that we all need to emulate!

So doctor, are you a craftsman (or craftswoman)? I posted a short Doctor’s Self Test for Craftsmanship on the discussion page of my Facebook fan page. You can access it and evaluate yourself for free at this link.

If you’re not already a fan, just click “like” and the test will be available for you at the link.

And then get to work!

By the way, have you seen my other popular blog sites for the general public?


Categories: craftsmanship, doctor personal growth, Uncategorized


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