winter 2012

p r a c t i c e   m a n a g e m e n t
Time Management Guide designed for physicians by physicians

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To help physicians cope with their busy schedules and workload, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada recently released The Time Management Guide: A practical handbook for physicians by physicians.

By NLMA Staff

In 2010, the National Physician Survey revealed that the majority of respondents worked more than 50 hours a week and performed at least 30 extra hours of call. Many physicians reported feeling overwhelmed by medical work that often leads to stress and burnout that affects their professional and personal lives.

To help physicians cope with their busy schedules and workload, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada recently released The Time Management Guide: A practical handbook for physicians by physicians. It was released as a resource under the Royal College’s CanMEDS Physician Competency Framework, which describes the core knowledge, skills and competencies needed for medical education and practice

“The Time Management Guide is a timely and important resource for the enhancement of physician capabilities. The authors have assembled an accessible, practical guide to essential abilities we all need for 21st-century practice,” writes Dr. Jason R. Frank in the book’s forward.

The handbook helps physicians match their behaviors with their authentic priorities, values, and goals. Throughout the book, the authors reflect on general concepts and models for time management; describe practical techniques and tools for taking control and adopting time-efficient habits; and, examine interpersonal skills to help doctors in their professional lives. They also provide guidance to help doctors invest in themselves by overcoming procrastination, building in time for their own health and fitness, and protecting time for family and friends.

The handbook is co-written by Dr. Hema Patel and Dr. Derek Puddester. Dr. Puddester, who is from Newfoundland, is also the lead editor and contributor to the Royal College’s CanMEDS Physician Health Guide: A Practical Handbook. He is also producer of Carpe Diem (a documentary on physician resiliency), and project lead on and

“Whatever the specialty or environment, work abounds in health care. It’s easy to be busy every moment of the day and yet fail to make satisfying progress toward the things that really matter to us,” the authors write.

“If this sounds like you, reading this book is a first step to taking control of your time. You may find that some of the strategies we suggest can be absorbed effortlessly into your work habits and daily routine; others will take more time to become reflexive. The most important thing, though, is to start.”

The Time Management Guide and other Royal College publications that explore aspects of the CanMEDS Framework are available at



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