Three Steps Doctors can Say NO with Grace and Power
May 2017

Being a doctor is a very noble profession. You are the savior, and you save the lives of many. You give all kinds of hopeless patients hope. You help them live their lives to their happiest, healthiest selves and you are a hero to a lot of people. So it comes with a lot of responsibility, and you are always presented with scenarios where your help could be of assistance. However, that does not mean you let your profession take over your entire life, and you say yes to every single time someone asks you to do something, just because you feel guilty and feel you are letting your oath down. Well, that is not the case at all. When you start feeling like all that work is taking a toll on you and your work life balance is in shambles then you need to take action and start saying NO.

But wait we are not telling you to say no in such a way that your start offending people, no one wants that. What we are going to help you with is how you as a doctor can say no in a nice graceful manner, that is powerful as well. Here are three steps you need to take when a situation like this arises:

Step1: Stop with the guilt, give yourself the priority:

You might have been taught all throughout your medical training that patient comes first, but that rule only applies to the workplace. Outside of it, you happen to have a life, and you have to put work aside for a moment and think of yourself. Think about your happiness and the happiness of all your loved ones. Realize that you're doing something for yourself and taking time out for you and your family doesn't make you a bad doctor. It is completely normal and in fact necessary for a good work-life balance. Thus, getting into the right frame of mind is the first step. 

Step2: Plan out some personal life activities beforehand:

Next, go ahead and make plans. Think of what would help you relax and enjoy or what would help your relationship with your family and loved ones. Start making plans with the people in your life. Book them in your schedule beforehand and don't ever move these slots.

Step3: Say no nicely but firmly:

Now that you have a clear conscience along with plans as well, the final step saying the actual word, “no” it is quite simple. Setting your priorities straight and then having plans means a simple, easy no. But say it in a pleasant mood and start by saying how you have stuff other than work and you need to focus on that. You can give the option of rescheduling the task at hand to later, but don't change already booked in things for anything. Be firm to show the finality of your decision, but be nice as well so everyone knows that you aren't just rude to them and so they understand that you have a life outside of work as well.

So if you are a doctor in a similar state of mind, use these steps as they are bound to help you.

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