Are NHS staff missing the Happiness Advantage?

Q. What do most want from life?

A. To be happy and successful.

Q. What should you do to achieve this?

A. Work hard, to achieve success, then feel happy.

 

The A-Level student knows they will be happy when they get into Medical School. The medical student will be happy when they graduate. The foundation doctor wants a good specialist training place. The specialist trainee will be happy when they complete training and find a permanent job. The GP/Consultant thinks they will be happy when they have saved enough money for early retirement….

Delayed gratification is certainly an essential part of the toolkit needed to achieve success. But, like me, you have probably learnt that there is more to actually being happy.

The obvious problem with the approach above is that happiness is all too often replaced by the next challenge. It is always in the future, when where we live is the present.

Evidence from the field of behavioural psychology suggests that this conventional wisdom about how to find happiness has even deeper flaws. And that the relationship between work, success and happiness is more complex than our instinctive, socially conditioned first thoughts might imply.

The Happiness Advantage Sketch

Shawn Achor, a Harvard Lecturer and psychologist, suggests in his book “The Happiness Advantage”, that the relationship between work, success and happiness actually runs in the opposite directions.

 

“People are smarter, more effective and resilient when they are happy”

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GP Federations – Live long and prosper?

GP Federation Pic

Are GP Federations the answer for General Practice?

This week’s sketch is inspired by the return of TNG to Netflix.


While you are here, you might enjoy some of my recent posts…
Why I'm excited about Pokemon Go
Why I’m excited about Pokemon Go
How storytelling helped at out CQV inspection
How storytelling helped at out CQV inspection
How we used speed dating to help GP recruitment and retention
How we used speed dating to help GP recruitment and retention

 

 

 

 

 


 

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How storytelling helped our CQC inspection

Sometimes you need to communicate a crucial point. To instruct individuals or a team to do something important. To encourage a trainee or team member to change a negative behaviour. It may be vitally important to a patient’s health or the success of your organisation. Fortunately medical training has prepared us well.

We know what to do. Present them with the facts. Support the message with data, graphs, risk ratios, tables and diagrams. This will help. Describe the options and the outcomes. Allow questions. Agree a course of action. Check understanding. Arrange to review progress.

People will then do what is best for themselves, society, or in the case of staff, the practice. Lose weight, complete the QOF prompts. They’ll be responsive to a logical case well made and do the right thing. Won’t they?

All too often, I find that, they don’t.

You will all recognise this story.

Tom is a smoker and we want to convince him to stop. We tell Tom that smoking kills 96,000 people a year in the UK, will shorten your life by an average of 10 years and that 80% of lung cancers are caused by smoking. The list of impacts and risks goes on. The logical case for stopping smoking is overwhelming. But, Tom had a friend… Bill. He smoked for 50 years and was fine. Until he stopped smoking. Since he stopped he had never coughed so much. He developed “heart trouble”, deteriorated and died. Bill always said that it was when he stopped smoking that his health started to go down hill.

“No doctor, I don’t want to stop smoking. It’s not worth the risk.”

Patients like Tom often show us the power of anecdotes and stories, and that they can be more compelling than the clearest of figures and facts.

It seems that many medics are missing a trick when communicating, motivating and leading. The use of stories and narrative are a great tool, and many professionals with technical and scientific backgrounds can under appreciate their impact.

Storytelling Pic

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The worlds of speed dating and GP recruitment, together at last!

Ask Practice Managers and GP Partners to list the challenges currently facing their practices and GP recruitment will poll high on the list.

Practices are facing a perfect storm of factors making it difficult to find and keep salaried and partner colleagues. Senior GPs are making an early dash for the exit and juniors are looking to other specialities or to more work-life balance friendly overseas or locum roles.

The issues almost roll off the tongue. Pension caps, insurmountable workloads, business uncertainty and risk, premises issues, increasing patient demands, more regulation, higher indemnity costs, the recent GP bashing mood of the media, and active recruitment by sunnier parts of the world. It’s enough to make even the most dedicated partner consider their position.

In many areas, even finding locum GP cover means using expensive agencies to find someone to drive across counties to the practice. It is not unusual for vacant sessions to go unfilled adding to the pressure on remaining staff.

Fresh thinking and innovation can throw up novel ideas and solutions to complex problems and turbulent times.

“Innovation comes about through combining disparate ideas and disciplines in ways that seem weird at first.”Ben Weinlick

In 1439 Johannes Gutenberg combined the wine press and the coin punch to create movable type and the printing press. He revolutionised the world.

In March this year the the RCGP Vale of Trent Faculty applied an innovative idea to the problem of GP recruitment and retention in the East Midlands. Perhaps not quite in the same league as the printing press, but exciting none the less.

GP Job Speed Dating Pic

The worlds of speed dating and GP recruitment, together at last!

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