How personal interests and hobbies influence physicians at work

Posted by Doximity TF Team

hobbies-guitar-800pxPhysicians bring a lot of skills and talents to the table. Some come from education or experience, some are innate, and many come from their life outside of work.

Busy physicians often engage in hobbies to blow off steam or fulfill a personal passion, but hobbies and personal interests can also enhance leadership skills and make doctors more resilient during stressful situations.

A recent study by psychologists at San Francisco State University confirms that hobbies outside the “office” help people perform better at work. "We found that in general, the more you engage in creative activities, the better you'll do," said the study’s lead author, Kevin Eschleman, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State (the findings were published in the "Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology").

Why would a physician recruiter talk to a candidate about hobbies? On-the-job happiness is vital, so recruiting physicians comes down to key areas that attempt to provide career fulfillment. Physicians often talk about work/life balance, and hobbies can help. They can also go a long way to overcoming physician burnout.

We know scores of doctors who are photographers, golfers, musicians, and especially writers. In fact, we recently published an article about physician writers/bloggers that really resonated with physicians and physician recruiters. Yes, some doctors dream of becoming the next Kevin MD or Bryan Vartabedian, MD of 33 Charts. Some even make some extra money blogging on the side. Mostly though, pursuing a pastime is about overcoming burnout. Physician burnout stems from multiple interrelated causes: excessive workload; loss of autonomy; administrative burdens and related inefficiencies; difficulties integrating personal and professional life; and more.

Throughout the recruiting process, you engage physician candidates and address every factor influencing their decision to take a new opportunity, including their family, personal interests, and work-life changes and expectations. Addressing hobbies and pastimes can help you help them overcome on-the-job-unhappiness because they’re great stress relievers.

Of course, in the busy world of healthcare it’s often hard for physicians to find time away from work for a hobby. Yet the truth is, all successful people need hobbies. We speak with doctors every day, so we brought up this subject and sure enough, they all confirmed that interests outside of work have taught them critical skills and made them better leaders. There are other benefits to having a hobby or two, as well:

  • Hobbies allow you to clear your mental palate by (depending on the hobby) putting you into a relaxing, meditative state.
  • Hobbies can awaken your creativity. When the mind is focused on something it enjoys — “intrinsically motivated” is the scientific term — it’s much more likely to think creatively.
  • Hobbies encourage you to interact with people outside of work, and engage in social opportunities.
  • Hobbies help you zone out and calm down, it’s a stress reliever.
  • Some hobbies allow your brain to focus on a solitary task, so you learn to unitask.
  • When you learn something new and conquer a new skill, it can give you a boost of confidence.

Physician’s don’t live by medicine alone. They have interests, passions, and pastimes outside of medicine that are engaging and satisfying – everyone needs an outlet. For some people, it’s the arts. For others, it’s sports. In the medical field, where doctors expect a lot of themselves and others expect a lot of them as well, finding healthy ways to unwind is one way to keep them going. And going. And going…

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Topics: Physician hobbies

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