Over the past 2 decades, healthcare has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the amount of information in the medical literature; technological advances in imaging, laboratory tests, and therapies; and medications. Given the expense of many of these diagnostic and therapeutic tools, an outsider might hazard to guess that the most valuable resource in healthcare is money. They would be wrong. As anyone who has worked in healthcare can attest, the most precious resource is time.
For today’s Interns and Residents, time is an even more precious resource than it was for their staff. Work hour restrictions, implemented by the ACGME in 2003 and revised in 2011, have not only not resulted in a decrease in the incidence of medical error, they have also resulted in “work compression” – where the same amount of work has to be completed in less time. The consequences of work compression were well described in a 2012 Academic Medicine study in which the average time residents spent each day with their patients who are admitted to the hospital was a mere 8-12 minutes. Amidst this landscape, developing the skills needed to manage one’s time is critical. Effective time management not only helps individuals to be more centered in, and satisfied with, their work, it also is likely to reduce medical error.
Although we will explore specific strategies in this module, it is important to recognize that the most effective approach will be one that is tailored to an individual’s strengths and weaknesses – an important lesson to learn as a developing military medical officer who will be called upon to help others manage their time more effectively in the future. In this module, through an exploration of effective time-management strategies married with self-reflection and assessment, participants will craft a personalized approach that can more effectively help them prioritize and execute what often feels like exponential demands both at work and at home.
- Reflect on your day-to-day schedule and consider what strategies you employ (if any) to manage your time. In addition, reflect on: (1) your short and and long-term goals and (2) what is most important to you in life. Come to the small group with notes that answer the following questions:
- What are your current time management strategies?
- What are your top 3 priorities in life right now?
- What is one thing that wastes your time?
- Do you have enough time for the things that you consider important?
- Do you review your goals regularly to determine if your actions align with those goals?
- Select two or more of the above resources to review prior to the small group session and come prepared to discuss what you found insightful about it.
- Be prepared to share some of your time management strategies. Do you use any helpful apps?