In this episode, I’ll be talking about clinical flow and what it means for your practice. I believe that every clinician should improve their capacity to operate in a flow state. In my view, the ability to operate in a place of clinical flow, maybe the most important aspect of developing as a clinician. And in this podcast, I’ll explain why.
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Welcome to the unleash, your best clinical self podcast. I'm your host, Andrew Cobian. If you're a physiotherapist or other movement professional, who feels like you're stuck in a rut, then my podcast is for you. This podcast is focused on helping you move from frustration to flow in your clinical practice. In each episode, I'll share strategies, approaches, and my latest thinking. On how to improve your clinical performance and keep loving what you do. This is episode number 69. And in this episode, I'll be talking about clinical flow and what it means for your practice. I also wanted to let you know that I have a newsletter where each month I dive into topics relating to improving your clinical performance, head over to 360 clinician.com to sign up today. Before we get into today's episode, I'd like to take a moment to introduce our sponsor, Jane. Jane is an all-in-one practice management software with features like online booking. Scheduling medical charting and a PCI compliant payment solution. The time you spend with your patients and clients is valuable and filling out forms during their appointment can quickly take away from your time together. That's why the team at Jane has designed online intake forms that your patients can complete from the comfort of their homes. And to help them remember to fill out their forms. Jane has your back with a friendly email reminder sent 24 hours before their appointment. This means they arrive ready to start their appointment and you can arrive, ready to help. Jane's online intake forms are fully customizable to ensure you're collecting everything you need ahead of time. Whether that's a credit card on file insurance, billing details, or assigned consent. You can build your intake forms from scratch or use a template from Jane's template library, and customize it further to meet your practice needs. If you're interested in learning more head over to jane.app forward slash guide, or use the code 360 1 M O at signup to receive a one month grace period on your new account. All right. Let's get started with today's show. Clinical flow. It's a topic infused in everything that I've written about at 360 clinician. And sometimes it can feel a little fuzzy as to what it means. And that's what I want to talk about today is this concept of clinical flow. I believe that every clinician should improve their capacity to operate in a flow state. In my view, the ability to operate in a place of clinical flow, maybe the most important aspect of developing as a clinician. And in this podcast, I'll explain why. So what does flow actually mean? Being in flow is a concept first articulated by psychologist, Maha chicks. Hi. It's where a person is highly engaged and focused while doing an activity. Can be associated with activities. In sports or artistic endeavors. And it can also incur in different work settings. And I think we can also experience it in clinical work as well. at first glance, the concept of flow seems almost unattainable in a clinical setting or at least. Unsustainable. The constant demands of a clinical day, moving from patient to patient can make the concept of flow. Almost seem laughable. Maybe it even feels a little bit nebulous or maybe a bit hokey. Anyone since it feels unrealistic or unattainable, we tell ourselves that flow really doesn't matter. We shift our focus to skill acquisition. We focus on hard skills that feel more tangible and measurable. And at nearly every turn in our career, the pursuit of hard skills can seem to be the only thing that matters to getting better clinical results and improving our professional journey. So why am I focusing on pursuing flow when it seems that hard skills are all that matter? 'cause I think that focusing our attention on flow and the necessary ingredients needed for moving into a place of flow. Sets us up as clinicians for a lifetime of highly engaged work that enables us to consistently experience meaning and joy. And when we experienced deep meaning enjoying our work, there's really nothing that can stop us from fully realizing our unique potential as healers with the people we serve. And I believe that flow and more specifically clinical flow is what we need to draw our attention to. If we're serious about professional growth and enjoyment. So let's take a moment to define clinical flow. And I believe that the concept of flow needs to be refined within a clinical setting, as we need to acknowledge that there are some inherent constraints such as limited time that exists within a clinical context. Typically within the definition of flow, there's this loss of time. time sort of stands still. We really can't operate in that place within a clinical setting. And so I think there are some, considerations that we need to take when we think of flow within a clinical setting. I define clinical flow as a state of persistent psychological engagement. Really an energized focus that is embodied with the values of curiosity. Collaboration, creativity and courage. It's where our attention can be leveraged to be fully present in our patient interactions. In delivering high quality care within the bounds of our knowledge, skills, and abilities. And I believe it is in this place that we experienced meaning and joy in our work. It's a place where our ego protective defenses are held at bay so that we are fully engaged in the patient interaction. It's in the place where we operate best as healers. And I don't think that this experience is something that is fleeting or haphazard. I think it's actually something that can be sustained by having the right work environment, an optimized state of self in terms of who we are, what's going on inside of us and flexible learning processes that support our growth and development. And I believe that there are really four pillars, four key values, four elements, whatever we want to call that are foundational to the clinical flow state. And they are courage, curiosity, collaboration, and creativity. So let's talk first about the foundation, which I believe is courage. Now. It seems that courage, maybe isn't something that's necessary for clinical flow, but the more that I've reflected and written on this topic. I've realized that courage is needed to advance all the other elements of clinical flow. We need courage within ourselves when we're feeling discomfort. Because of an interaction that went off or we're feeling overwhelmed and we need to explore what's going on inside of us, but we also need courage with our patients in terms of being able to have meaningful conversations and be able to. Interact and navigate things that can be challenging. The next element needed to support a flow state is curiosity. And after courage, I think that curiosity really is that next level of the foundation. Why? Because curiosity fosters engaged openness. It helps us to move beyond our perceptual. Blinders. It helps us to explore beyond what our current understanding is. It fuels our own growth and development as well. It helps us to actually really interact with our patients in a deeper way. And really helps to understand the why of what's going on. Collaboration is at the core of the patient therapist relationship. It's really an open-handed interaction that focuses on working together. And I believe that collaboration has an understanding of humility. It's not this top-down power hierarchy. But instead it's one of joint decision-making and journey making. It really is such an key element. And, and you know, that you're in a place of flow when there's a very strong, collaborative interaction taking place. Finally, we have creativity. Now, when we're dealing with complex problems and situations. When we're dealing with challenging patient situations, we need to be creative. The exercise that we gave for another person may not work for this individual that's in front of us at the moment, and we need to be able to be creative and come up with something that's going to work for that patient. And I think that creativity allows us to be more agile clinically. and it helps us to bring novel solutions to complex situations. So, how does this focus on clinical flow actually helping you to be a better clinician? When we are consistently entering a place of clinical flow with our patient interactions. We're going to be in the best position to maximize our skills, our thinking personality experience. For those unique patient interactions. And then what that does is it creates an opportunity to bring our best selves forward in those interactions and really deliver the best clinical experience. Which is going to end up resulting in enjoying your work more and actually getting better patient results. So this week, think about your clinical experiences. Do you find yourself engaged in your work? Are you energized with your patient interactions? Do you find yourself being curious about the patients you see. Do you find yourself collaborating with your patients and exploring creative solutions to complex situations? Are you finding the courage to explore and reflect on your own emotional reactions that come up over the course of the week? These are all great questions to think and stew about a little bit, as you go through your day and as you reflect on, your workweek, and if you've been focused on only development of hard skills, then think about whether you could begin exploring ways to develop and improve your ability to operate more consistently in a place of flow. A great starting point is checking out articles that I've written at 360, clinician.com. Where I write about topics relating to and impacting clinical flow. Thank you for hanging out with me today and hearing about how to improve your clinical performance. Make sure to subscribe on iTunes or Spotify to stay up to date on future episodes. And if you enjoyed this podcast, I truly appreciate. You're leaving a five-star review on iTunes. Here's to less frustration, more flow and better clinical results till next time.