A registrar survival guide ... how to avoid workplace stress

Work at an appropriate level.

Working above your level of competency can be stressful. If you feel concerned about a particular case or procedure, talk to your colleagues or trainer.

Prioritise your workload
Rank work in order of importance and delegate to other members of the team where necessary.

Change your practice
Many of the roots of stress arise from doctors' own practices: overbooking patients, starting surgeries late, accepting commitments too soon after surgeries are due to finish and allowing inappropriate interruptions.

Higher pressure scores are found in doctors with fast consultation rates than those with slower ones.

Maintain a good work/life balance
Be sure to take breaks throughout the day, even if they are only short ones. Have an hour or so for yourself, two or three times a week.

Leave work at work
Try not to take patients' problems home with you. If a particular problem is bothering you when you get home, look it up or deal with it straight away, and then leave it alone. Learn to unwind once you have left work.

Don't rely on substances
Avoid negative ways of coping with stress, such as smoking, drinking, or compulsive eating, as these will ultimately cause you more stress as you try to break the habit.

Try learning a relaxation technique.

Essentials checklist

  • An approachable colleague or trainer
  • Time for breaks
  • Diary - for appointments or personal life
  • Relaxation techniques.

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