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Ten Tips for A Healthy Medical Career


By Dr Roger Sexton, Medical Director, Doctors’ Health SA

You bring many personal qualities and personal experience into medicine. These include IQ, varying levels of EQ and resilience, time management skills, motivation and personality traits. Your training hones your inter-personal and professional skills through graded exposure to a vast range of clinical situations as you progress through the course.

There are a number of stressful points of transition along the way where our skills and mettle are tested. These include the first year of medical school, our final examinations, internship, competitive entry into Training Programs, Fellowship examinations and entry into private practice.

You have the advantage of preparing well for your future. We have found at Doctors’ Health SA there are some key things that doctors do to maintain a positive wellbeing, as they progress through their careers.
  1. They have a GP. You live significantly longer if you do. GPs advocate for you in the health system and connect you with their independent referral networks. They are well-trained to look at all forms of illness, preventive health and provide a safe environment in which you can share your concerns. Use your GP wisely. Take the time to find a GP in a practice you can access and who meets your expectations. Behave yourself when you are there and be helpful. Book longer appointments and don’t expect everything to be sorted out in one visit.
  2. They attend to the basics: regular amounts of fresh water and regular meals (take it to work); exercise (they build activity into everything they do. Sitting is the new smoking. They get 10 minutes of sunshine. They prioritise sleep.
  3. They have interests outside medicine including art, music, reading, team sport, volunteering, coaching etc.
  4. Maintain non-medical friendships and re-connect with family, old school friends
  5. Practise relaxation at work through mindfulness, meditation. walking whilst having meetings, intermittent music.
  6. Establish a set of advisors around them; accountant, GP, psychologist etc.
  7. Anticipate stress well ahead and garner support for these times and prioritise sleep, food, water, exercise in advance.
  8. They practise very good time management. They do not procrastinate. They use the 3 D approach to tasks which works well. Do it (now); Ditch it (ie. say NO) or Delegate it.
  9. They plan holidays well ahead and find restorative value in short breaks such as an overnight stay somewhere.
  10. They have an annual check-up so that all of their preventative health checks are done.

Finding a GP can take time and you may appreciate some help. Doctors’ Health SA is the health program established by the medical profession in 2010 to assist SA doctors and medical students with their health. We are here to help you with an initial comprehensive health assessment and to help you find a GP of choice for your future care.

  • Doctors' Health SA have this list printed in a DL flyer format - if you would like some copies to share at your workplace, medical event or practice, please email and request the number of copies you would like and we will post them to you for free!