Lacking time for — or not valuing — peer connection has serious consequences for physicians. It can lead to "a soulless efficiency and professional isolation that drains physicians of our ability to help ourselves, help each other, and help patients."1
Creating intentional peer connection doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. But don't wait for a colleague to approach you. Go first. Initiate the peer support relationship by making time for a quick lunch or a social visit.
If you and your colleague want to add some structure and accountability to the relationship, the following check-ins and question prompts designed by Mark Greenawald, MD, can help drive the discussion:
As little as 90 seconds each week, check in by e-mail, text, phone, or in person to provide mutual support and encouragement. Sample questions include the following: How are you doing? What is one specific thing I can do to help/support/encourage you this week?
Thirty to 90 minutes each month, have a more in-depth connection. Sample questions include the following: What is one thing that's going well? What is one thing you are struggling with? What's something that's really important to you right now? What is one specific personal or professional goal for the next 30 days, and how can I help/support/encourage you to achieve it?
Up to 90 minutes every 90 days, do a quarterly review of the previous 90 days and set goals for personal/professional well-being for the next quarter. Sample questions include the following: How are you living out your values? What are your goals for the next three months? What are your dreams, both personally and professionally? When is your next vacation/adventure? How can I help/support/encourage you?
1. Frey JJ. Professional loneliness and the loss of the doctors' dining room. Ann Fam Med. 2018;16(5):461-463.
Read the full FPM article: “Creating Intentional Professional Connections to Reduce Loneliness, Isolation, and Burnout."
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