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by Isabel Shaw
22 November 2019

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Wellbeing in Practice: Four useful tips for good mental health

Dr Ahmed Z Kazmi, a GP and wellbeing speaker, talks to Management in Practice to give some tips on how to juggle the seemingly impossible task of managing a practice while maintaining good mental health.

The doctor-cum-stand-up comedian enjoys spreading positivity in exciting ways. He loves to promote the wellbeing of healthcare staff, which he says is too often sidelined for the sake of patients.

Managing a practice can seem an all-encompassing task at times. Because of this, Dr Kazmi places a lot of stress on valuing oneself and delegating tasks to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Here are some tips on how to achieve this.

1. Value yourself

‘Practice staff are often abused by patients because they are approachable and accessible. Don’t clean the loo, don’t fix a printer, don’t find someone’s telephone number, etc. You are a skilled member of staff whose time is precious; don’t be shy to say no and redirect or to delegate tasks,’ says Dr Kazmi. 

2. Ask how everyone is doing 

‘Unhappy doctors make unhappy clinics,’ he says. ‘Practice managers are in a privileged position to have an oversight of all staff. They usually know earlier than others if someone is struggling. Most doctors are very reluctant to seek help for stress or mental health problems. If you suspect a member of your team is struggling, don’t be shy to ask how they are doing or offer support.’

3. Remember you’re not alone

‘As a practice manager, it can sometimes feel like the weight of everything rests on your shoulders. Remember, you are a member of a team, too – others are accountable for their actions and you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!’

4. Self-care

‘Make sure you have your own outlet and source of support and supervision, be that membership of a practice manager group or someone with whom you are in a professional therapeutic relationship, with such as a coach, ‘Dr Kazmi recommends. ‘Although not patient-facing per se, practice managers often vicariously experience the stresses the staff and patients are experiencing.’

‘Medicine is a never-ending need, the door never really closes and work will never stop coming in. It’s easy to feel swamped or constantly behind schedule. Set boundaries around the hours you work, don’t allow it to spill over into your home life time. However much time you sacrifice out of your personal life won’t be enough anyway, so don’t sacrifice any,’ Dr Kazmi adds.

‘Try to coach yourself to leave work at work. On your way home, think about how you can switch gears between work and home life. For some, this may be taking a shower, changing clothes or listening to a podcast – find out what works for you.’

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