Practice Perfect - PRESENT Podiatry
Practice Perfect
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Colleagues and Friends

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Jarrod Shapiro
collegial interactions

As the year comes to a close, and the holidays arrive, I’m reminded of all the friends and colleagues I’ve made during my time as a podiatrist. In fact, the nature of how I make new colleagues has changed somewhat over my time as a college educator.

For instance, four of my local colleagues (two in private practice and two that now work at Western University with me) were previously students of mine. This has, in fact, been one of the joys of being a teacher. Seeing my students move on from their educational years into practice – going from young novices to mature practitioners – is a rewarding feeling. It’s especially nice when these new colleagues become friends.

I have had many positive and collegial interactions in the past, as well as many not so collegial ones, and the outcomes of the non-collegial interactions is significantly impaired. I am often surprised when someone in an authoritative position behaves in a way that is so obviously wrong. Clearly it is necessary to articulate just what a collegial physician looks like.

According to one expert, the following personal behaviors mark a collegial relationship1:

  • Maintain composure during difficult interactions 
  • Solicits and values input from colleagues when appropriate 
  • Completes sharing of team responsibilities 
  • Shares knowledge and skills with others 
  • Makes valuable contributions during meetings 
  • Admits errors and assumes personal responsibility for mistakes 
  • Advocates for colleagues 
  • Aware of and sensitive to power asymmetries in interprofessional relationships 
  • Maintains positive attitudes and motivation amid unexpected work and outcomes 

Collegiality goes beyond simple politeness, as these behaviors show. Consider your own interactions with colleagues and ask yourself if those interactions have always followed these model behaviors. I’ve seen many an excellent physician falter in following these behaviors.

Even in this age of instant information access using our cell phone, one of the main methods of information acquisition for practicing physicians is still by interaction with trusted colleagues

It also seems collegiality is the lifeblood of effective doctoring. One meta-analysis of 12 studies found that one of the primary methods of information acquisition for practicing physicians came from colleagues2. I can understand the power of this opinion. Desiring interactions with colleagues was one of the reasons I had moved from rural private practice in Oregon to Western University almost eight years ago.

This has also been one of the unexpected joys of my time as an editorialist for PRESENT e-Learning Systems. Beyond simply working with all the wonderful people at PRESENT, I have been exposed to so many of our readers. I can’t relate just how rewarding it has been to meet so many of you around the country. My life has been incredibly uplifted by all of my new friends.

So, in this time of holiday festivities, I’m sending out all my best wishes to my colleagues and friends around the country and in some cases, the world. I wish you all the very best of health, happiness, and success in the year to come.

Best Wishes.
Jarrod Shapiro Signature
Jarrod Shapiro, DPM
PRESENT Practice Perfect Editor
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  1. Thirumoorthy T. The Professional Role of Doctor as a Colleague. SMA News. July 2012.
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  2. Haug JD. Physicians’ preferences for information sources: a meta-analytic study. Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1997 Jul;85(3):223-232.
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