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Ten coping strategies for the worn-out GP

In order to prevent burnout, why not try out some of the following tips?

1 Do something different

Try your hand at something new. This could be a big project, like setting up your own international oil business, or just a small one, like wearing a hat. A colleague of mine decided to wear ladies’ underwear for a while and felt the silky smooth material sighing on his skin quite life-enhancing.

2 Sit and sob

There’s nothing quite like a good cry is there? Unless it goes on for too long – then people avoid you like the plague and stop phoning you.

3 Be creative

Why not invent something like a three way stethoscope or a double ended speculum? It’s amazing what you can do if you just put your mind to it.

4 Stop going to work

This works really well. Have you tried it yet?

5 Make an effigy of your patients

Make a realistic papier-mache effigy of your most troublesome patient and then beat the merry hell out of it. If you passionately hate more than one patient then don’t leave them out, make an effigy of them too. A colleague of mine took it to the extreme and his basement ended up looking like the Terracotta Army.

6 Adopt the foetal position

If all else fails, huddle up in the foetal position and groan, ‘nooo, noooo, noooo’.

7 Engage with a high quality occupational health service

Er… No, actually you can’t do that. Sorry.

8  Buy a scratch card

You might win something. And if you don’t win anything what have you lost? Nothing, apart from your dignity, and that final glimmer of hope you were so desperately clinging on to.

9 Join a peer support group

If talking to doctors all day long is doing your head in, then spend all of your social time talking to them too.

10 Pull a face   

Everyday, read something that makes you laugh, it makes the world seem like a better place.  

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen.