Dr Puddle seeks inspiration before his busy Monday morning clinic.
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Levelling up! Six lessons about professional development from the world of role playing games…
It’s 9pm. I’m alone. This was a busy supermarket. Was. The air is filled with the smell of long rotten food and the sound of silence. A can falls loudly to the floor. A feral zombie like creature darts towards me. My heart quickens as I raise my AER9 laser rifle…
No, this is not Dr Puddle’s usual trip to the local Tesco Metro to pick up a ready meal after evening clinic. I’m playing a game. My old student penchant for computer role playing games, RPGs, has not entirely left me. I should probably be doing something more productive, like preparing for my appraisal next month. But then again, isn’t it important to unwind from time to time?
It would be nice to think that all those hours exploring dungeons and slaying orcs were not wasted. And, perhaps they weren’t.
Continuing Professional Development, CPD, is an essential part of life as a modern professional. Here in the UK, demonstrating ongoing development is a compulsory part of all doctor’s revalidation process. Over 50 hours of development activity must be demonstrated every year in order for us to be allowed to continue to practice medicine. As I reflect on how I plan to improve myself as a professional, it strikes me that RPGs have some powerful lessons to teach us about personal and professional development.
That RPGs incorporate elements relevant to CPD is not surprising. A big appeal of the RPG genre is the experience of improving your character’s skills and abilities as you engage with increasingly difficult but rewarding stories and quests within the game world.
All RPGs incorporate a system to model the accumulation of experience, skills and abilities. For example, the Fallout series quantifies a player’s abilities using the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system. Player “stats” are rated 1 to 10 in the attributes of Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. Your character starts the game weak and ordinary, but experience points earned through playing the game are spent improving your basic stats, and training in special abilities. Currency can be earned and exchanged for equipment and clothing, which further enhance “stats” and abilities.
So what can RPGs teach us about improving ourselves in the real world?
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The world needs more medical leaders!
Medics make great
So why am I writing this blog?
As a Doctor, dealing with patients, paperwork and the general cut and thrust of clinical work can feel like a real challenge. On top this, the added responsibilities of managing staff and running your team or practice can feel like an unwanted chore.
But it doesn’t have to be this way…
Leading teams towards change and improvements can be incredibly rewarding. It will amplify the positive impact you have on your colleagues, organizations and patients.
Leadership was conspicuous by its absence in my under and postgraduate medical training. I’m told that this situation is improving. However, there are generations of doctors out here who have reached leadership positions without ever giving the topic much thought.
Clinicians have spent years honing their communication, critical thinking, judgment and decision making skills. We have the potential to have a huge positive impact as leaders.
What is this blog about and who is it for?