30 Rules That All Doctors Should Follow

By Rio Dennis 10 months ago

Prioritize patient welfare and safety

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Being a medical professional comes with a lot of responsibility, and there are a plethora of rules and regulations that should be followed. One of the key responsibilities, is prioritizing patient welfare and safety. This means that patients should be at the core of any healthcare services.

Practice evidence-based medicine

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Practicing evidence-based medicine, basically refers to using medical methods and procedures that are based in factual practice. By using genuine procedures, medical professionals are able to prevent malpractice, and can provide their patients with quality care.

Maintain patient confidentiality

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Maintaining patient confidentiality should be at the top of doctors' priorities, and it prevents any malpractice and potential medical negligence. Having doctor-patient confidentiality, is the main way that healthcare professionals are able to build trusting bonds with their patients.

Obtain informed consent

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Informed consent refers to the agreement that patients give to doctors, regarding certain parts of their treatment. This can range from: drawing blood, checking blood pressure and moving the patient, to certain procedures/operations that need to be done, contacting family members/loved ones and whether the patient wishes to be resuscitated (if necessary).

Communicate effectively

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Communication is an important part of any career, and this importance increases ten-fold within the medical sector. Doctors need to be able to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively, in order to provide each and every patient with the best care possible.

Continuously update medical skills and knowledge

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Medical professionals have to complete many years of studying and training, before they are fully qualified within their chosen field. Although a doctor may be fully qualified, they still need to update their medical knowledge and skill set, so they can remain in-line with modern-day practices.

Adhere to professional codes of ethics

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Professional codes of ethics, are regulations that are put in place to protect the ethical care of patients. Doctors need to adhere to these at all times, as they ensure the care they are providing is ethical, and keeps the patient at the core of everything they decide to do.

Avoid discrimination

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Discrimination is completely unacceptable, especially when it occurs within a professional workplace. Doctors should never discriminate colleagues or patients, as it can be damaging for their reputation, the care they are willing to provide and their ability to build some form of trust with their patients.

Act in the best interest of patients

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Acting within the best interest of a patient, is arguably the most important part of being a doctor. By always adhering to this, doctors are able to provide the best care to each of their patients, whilst taking into account each individual's unique needs.

Be honest and transparent

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Honesty and transparency are two very important traits for a doctor to have, even though it can be difficult to maintain within certain situations. Being honest and transparent about information with patients, allows doctors to strengthen the trust between them, and allows patients to come to terms with their condition/illness (especially if it is terminal).

Document patient information

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Documenting patient information is at the focus of many other rules and regulations, with one of the most important being, clear communication. By documenting information about a patient, doctors are able to transfer said patient between certain specialists etc.

Collaborate with other healthcare professionals

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Healthcare requires a lot of teamwork, and is very much a joint effort between all healthcare professionals. Certain treatments and procedures require doctors to collaborate with other doctors, whether they're situated within the same hospital, or at another location.

Respect cultural and religious beliefs

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Every patient and colleague is different, and some people are going to have differing cultural and religious beliefs. It is of paramount importance that doctors respect these differences, and take into account any alterations that may need to be made for people e.g. clothing, time for prayer and certain patients that can/can't be treated.

Maintain appropriate boundaries

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Setting and up-keeping boundaries important within personal and professional settings, and doctors are expected to maintain appropriate boundaries with their colleagues and patients. By doing this, they are able to build up a strong reputation for themselves, and it is more like that they will be trusted by the majority of patients they treat.

Report any unethical behavior

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Unfortunately, there have been some cases, of doctors displaying unethical behavior (via their actions and/or language). If a doctor witnesses this sort of behavior from another colleague, they should report it straight away to the relevant person/group (hospital's board of directors/CEO).

Keep up with infection control protocols

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Infection control protocols are a key part of running a successful and hygienic hospital. These protocols are typically set in place early-on, and may only have some alteration, if it is required by law and/or new information regarding an illness comes to light.

Avoid over-prescribing medication

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The prescription of certain medication is sometimes necessary during and after a patient's treatment, or if someone has a long-term condition e.g. mental health conditions. However, doctors need to have clear records regarding each patient's prescribed medication history, as this helps prevent potential over-prescription.

Be punctual and reliable

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Time-keeping is a high-value skill within the medical field, and it showcases to patients that you are passionate about their care. Punctuality also showcases to colleagues, that you are a reliable and trustworthy individual, who can be asked for assistance (if/when necessary).

Manage your own health

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Although doctors look after other people everyday, it is important for them to manage their own health. By keeping their health as a priority, doctors are able to provide better care to their patients, without it being detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.

Educate patients about their conditions

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When patients are receiving an official diagnosis, it can be frightening, confusing and overwhelming. So doctors need to be able to accurately educate their patients about their conditions, without sounding too clinical/technical. They should be able to condense the diagnosis, into a more manageable explanation.

Advocate for patient rights

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Advocating for patient's rights is something all doctors should strive to do, and it allows them to really build a strong foundation of trust between them. This advocation of rights is particularly important for elderly, disabled and vulnerable patients, as they may not have the means to speak up for themselves.

Stay objective

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Staying objective refers to the necessary emotional disconnect that doctors must have, when it comes to their patients having procedures/surgeries (especially if they're high-risk). They need to keep a clear mind, and have set objectives for said procedures/surgeries, that are going to benefit the patient.

Handle patient complaints

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Of course, it isn't always going to run smoothly within a professional setting, and patient complaints are likely to be made. It is the responsibility of doctors to handle these complaints, and come to a suitable solution/agreement, that benefits them and the patient.

Maintain a clean healthcare environment

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Linking back to the topic of infection protocols, the maintenance of a clean healthcare environment (no matter how big or small), should be within the top three priorities for a medical professional. Cleanliness is a sign of an institution that is well-managed, and has high service standards.

Be mindful of resources and costs

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Medical resources and costs will vary from time-to-time and place-to-place, so doctored have to keep this in mind when exploring available options of treatment for patients. Medical costs have a tendency to inflate at certain times, and resources can become scarce, so doctors have to keep this in mind consistently.

Seek supervision

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It is not always possible to treat a person alone, so doctors need to know when to ask for supervision. Supervision can take on many forms, including: giving a second opinion on diagnosis, helping inject a patient, analyzing scans and helping prepare for surgery.

Disclose conflicts of interest

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Similarly to reporting any unethical behavior, doctors should always disclose any conflicts of interest. No matter how big or small the conflict may be, or who it may involve, it should always be reported to the relevant person straight away. By doing this, doctors are able to reassess potential treatment options for patients.

Support and mentor colleagues

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As mentioned previously, working within the medical field is a joint effort, and everyone should feel supported within their work. Doctors should always do their best to mentor and support colleagues, and this should be reciprocated (especially with student medical personnel).

Participate in quality improvement initiatives

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Medical institutions are going to require some form of improvement over time, and doctors should participate within these initiatives. The majority of improvements involve the quality of care and general operation of a hospital, so doctors have a lot of say when it comes to what can be done, to improve these sectors of their work.

Practice self-care

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Practicing self-care is important for everyone, especially medical professionals, as their job has one of the highest rates of burnout. In order to really separate their personal and professional lives, doctors need some kind of release, and it helps if that release involves putting themselves first e.g. skincare, going to the gym, reading, writing etc.

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