I finally came to terms with myself: No, I am not perfect. I have a body and brain that make some things easy and other things difficult, and that is true for all clinicians. Some patients are emotionally easy-- they're smart, organized, and diligent. Others are a trial: they're whiny, disorganized, anxious, or rude; they don't do their homework; or they just don't try. But I will treat them all. Some have a diagnosis I've seen a million times (like a knee replacement), and others have something I've seen maybe once-- time to think!
No, I do not know everything, and no, I cannot fix everyone. (That's why it's called practice.)
Yes, I will get up every day and do my best. There is always something, somewhere, I can improve.
Yes, I will keep learning as much technical, professional information as I can along the way.
Yes, I will recognize that I have prejudices, issues, and weaknesses, and I will do my best to compensate for them.
Yes, I will seek wisdom, and by that I mean, understanding people and how they work.
That said.... I now know this:
- I must figure out the criteria for success in each workplace, and meet that. In other words, don't go fighting the last war.
- I will put just as much effort into your rehab as you do. Doing otherwise leads to frustration.
- I am my own instrument, and I need ongoing sustaining engineering (enough sleep, consistent strength training, down time, good diet) and development engineering (learning new skills and acquiring wisdom) to work well.
- Employers want you to treat the patient more than they really need (extra visits or, for inpatient rehab, more treatment time.) Don't fall for that. Insurers want you to treat the patient less than they really need, and I shouldn't let that fly either.