10Minutes! That's right; there are only 10 minutes per consultation.
It may not sound much but thatâ€™s all there are. Therefore its very important to use
There are endless possibilities why a patient comes to see a doctor. What ever may be
the reason there are only 10 minutes.
It's also possible that patient may have waited weeks and months to see the doctor. It
doesnâ€™t matter how long patient wait, they only get 10 minutes.
Despite the significant challenges, ageing population and their multiple co-morbidities,
the consultation time remains static.Â
Until recently I had a feeling of despair whenever I thought that I only have 10 minutes
per consultation. At times, however, I was silently hopeful that things might change and
doctors will be allowed longer consultation times.Â
But now I have come to accept, even to embrace, that changes to consultations time is
not likely to change and 10-minute consultations are here to stay.
Itâ€™s likely that I will always see the differences between reality and the way things can be
but without feeling disillusioned and disgruntled. The â€˜tragic gapâ€™ (1) between the reality
and possibility is here to stay and best way forward may be is to embrace the gap and
learn to stand in the gap by holding the both poles.I have changed my thinking from 'I only have' to 'I have' 10 minutes. Iam mindful of the simple fact that these 10 minutes will never comeback so make it count for you and the
I am more intentional of what I say, do and 'how I be' during the consultations. For
example, I am practicing to be mindfully present, listen and focus attentively on the
patients narrative rather than worrying about the time constraints. In addition, I am
creating time and space for myself to stop, listen and reflect.
This skilful means is helping me to stand in the tragic gap and enjoy my work.I enjoy what I do and twenty years from now, I still want to say with passion that I am
enjoying what I do.
1. Parker J Palmer: A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life;