Q: You’re also a big proponent of team-building within groups.
A: Definitely. That’s the foundation. Groups are going to coalesce differently. In my group at Lehigh Valley, we all had a Fourth of July party. We were never so close as after that one experience when we shared dinner together. It may be as simple as that. At Temple, I had all 25 of us meet and go over a teambuilding exercise to understand what values people have and why they come to work. I asked them to tell me something I didn’t know about them. I heard everything from “I changed my name when I was 5” to “I played basketball in college.”
You’re more willing to cover for a colleague if he or she is sick if you get to know them on a personal level. And if that happens, you’re less likely to leave, and that decreases turnover. On top of everything else, you become a group. You see group buy-in and goal recognition, and you start to see those goals attained.
Q: On top of your administrative duties and teaching responsibilities, you’re still doing 10 clinical shifts per month. Why?
A: It’s hugely important for two reasons. No. 1 is respect among members of your team. No. 2 is knowledge of your service. It’s not until you get your hands dirty that you can really understand what physicians in your group are going through and figure out ways to make life better. And at the end of the day, we’re all still physicians. TH
Mark Leiser is a freelance writer in New Jersey.