‘The Seven Habits’ in Psychiatry

‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’  by Stephen R. Covey is one of the best selling self-help and business books of all time. It is an absolute must for people looking for efficiency in professional and personal life. Can these seven habits be applied to psychiatric practice? Let’s take a look.

  1. Be proactive: As a clinician, the best results for patients are obtained when one is proactive. You must be prepared to work in a way that makes you feel proud even if it means a lot of hard work.
  2. Begin with the end in mind: Whenever you decide on a task, you must visualise the result you want to achieve. A clear vision of where you want to go must be formed. Ask yourself: “What is my aim for the patient?” If you don’t know where you’re going with your plan, you can’t get there. Furthermore, challenges, barriers, strengths, weaknesses and resources are also part of the equation. Each team member should be on the same page working towards common goal(s).
  3. Put first things first: Prioritize, plan and execute tasks. Prioritization is especially important in medicine to avoid inefficient use of resources.
  4. Think win–win:Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is a better long term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten their way. Important advice for board meetings.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood: Applicable for both patients and team members. This creates an atmosphere of caring and problem solving.
  6. Synergize: Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution. Open up your mind to fresh and creative ideas. This is an important aspect to consider when working in multidisciplinary teams. Psychiatric units and community teams should have case review meetings with the patient included where strategic, prioritized plans are developed for each patient with contributions from different clinicians, aligning their plan with the patient’s goals.
  7. Sharpen the saw: Balance and renew your resources, energy and health to create a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle. Holidays, time with family, exercise, leave, conferences and after work dinners are all part of achieving an optimal work and life environment. Services would benefit from a greater investment into staff wellbeing. Most importantly, never rest on your laurels, strive to constantly improve yourself and be eager to learn and explore.

Something to learn from these seven habits, don’t you think?

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