Don’t Listen to the Burnout “Experts” — What Worked for Me

When your day is done, learn to flip the switch and turn off the light. Don’t walk out the door — run out the door. And once you do, don’t look back!

Keep in mind that the whole world is not just sick people. Remember, dear doctor, that there is a wonderful world out there! Look at the beautiful clouds in the sky. Listen to the birds chirping in the trees.

You are not superhuman or irreplaceable. Believe it or not, the vast majority of your patients will survive without you. 

Some may even thrive. Save some of the passion that you put into medicine for yourself and for the people in your life who nurture you.

There will never be any shortage of patients waiting to see you, nor any shortage of demands on your time. By limiting your exposure, you’ll suffer less “compassion fatigue” and you’ll end up being a much better, more robust and more compassionate doctor.

A burned-out doctor is really no doctor at all. He or she is merely a toasted, crispy caricature of a clinician who is going to piss off patients and staff, and might even make significant errors in clinical or ethical judgment.

Don’t let that person be you.

I know they don’t teach happiness in medical school. Happiness may in fact be a totally foreign concept to many doctors practicing today. But damn it, doctor! You deserve happiness just as much as anyone else. You need to take personal responsibility for finding it.

Don’t listen to the burnout “experts.” Instead, listen to your heart.

I implore you to start now!

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This article originally appeared on Medical Bag