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FFYFP Blog – Finding Love for Your Practice  

By: Dr. Nathan Turner

February marks Valentine’s Day and, in Alberta this year, strangely enough, a welcoming thaw after the deep freeze of January. As my kids watch Frozen for the 987th time, I am reminded by Olaf that “true love can thaw a frozen heart.” Too often in medicine it is easy to become jaded in our clinical work, and the political challenges in the province have not helped with that. Add to that a global pandemic, and the last few years have been draining for all and permanently scarring for many. It is important at these times to think of ways that we can start to thaw our own frozen hearts.

Often the quickest way to do this is to start reaching outward and bring some positivity to those around us who have also been struggling. Instead of buying an overpriced pack of punch-out Spiderman Valentine’s cards, here are some ways we might be able to reach out and professionally say “I love you” to those around us:

Staff Appreciation

Consider ways you can show appreciation for the staff in your clinic. It could be a hand-written thank you note, including them on your next coffee run, sharing some baked goods, or even having a conversation with a staff member you do not know as well. As frustrating as our political and financial woes are, it is important to remember that our MOAs and other staff members are often feeling the pain of inflation even more acutely than ourselves.

A Gesture of Thanks to Learners

Another often under-appreciated group in our clinics are the learners that come through for clinical rotations. Many of them are with us only for a short time, but we all know that clerkship and residency can be a busy, thankless, and intimidating period of our education. Sometimes a genuine “thank you” at the end of a clinic day where they have gathered histories from your patients, assisted with a procedure, or helped calm a rattled patient can help them feel seen and feel a bit less imposter syndrome. Free food and coffee are always appreciated too. 🙂

Staying in Touch with Our Mentors

Speaking of learners, we were all learners once as well! How long has it been since you’ve reached out to one of your former teachers or mentors to say thank you or just to chat? A quick email, text, or visit over lunch might help both of you reconnect and consider how far you’ve come. Another way to express appreciation could be to pay it forward and sign up for the ACFP Mentor Match program or another available mentoring opportunity.

Supporting Our Peers

Our fellow colleagues are in the same boat with us, and there is a lot we can do to support each other. Any of the above suggestions for others can still apply, along with offering to cover a co-worker’s labs if they are away for a few days or scheduling some time to connect and do some activities outside of clinic.

Celebrating the Good Work of Our Colleagues

Another avenue to lift someone up could be to nominate them for an award! There are many options through the ACFP, CFPC, AMA, or through your local university or other organizations you are a part of.

All of us could use some positivity after a tough few years. I hope you will try one or more of these suggestions and consider sharing your experience in the comments, on social media, or on ACFP Networks. Hearing about these experiences from others can also brighten someone’s day and encourage them to do the same!

P.S. There is still room to register to attend the Family Medicine Summit in Banff, AB, or remotely, happening on March 1-3 2024. With great talks and fun social events, it’s a great way to recharge your batteries. The First Five Years in Family Practice Committee will also be hosting a networking lunch for early practice physicians. We hope to see you there!


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