Burnout Is Bullshit

Bullshit

Please stop using the word burnout. You are not burned out. You’ve been abused. Let’s get the diagnosis right.

We enter medicine as inspired, intelligent, compassionate humanitarians. Soon we’re cynical and exhausted. How did all these totally amazing and high-functioning people get so f@*d up so fast? ATTENTION medical students and doctors: It’s NOT your fault. 

Burnout is physical and mental collapse caused by overwork. 

So why blame the victims? 

The fact is medical students and physicians are collapsing because they are suffering from acute on chronic abuse. At some medical schools, 100% of students report abuse

Do you think this gets better? Physicians are overworked and overwhelmed with bureaucratic bullshit during most of their careers. They are trapped in assembly-line big-box clinics where they are treated like factory workers and berated for not seeing enough patients per day. These are human rights abuses in our nation’s hospitals. This doctor worked 7 days in a row with almost no sleep! 

And the doctor below. Think she’s burned out? Nope. She has been ABUSED!!

Docs, stop playing nice in the sandbox. You are being abused.

You can’t be a victim and healer at the same time.

Only you can stop this shit.

 How do you know if you’re being abused at work? 1) You don’t get lunch or bathroom breaks. 2) You are forced to work multiple-day shifts. 3) You are not allowed to sleep. 4) You are forced to see unsafe numbers of patients. 5) You can never seem to find “work-life balance.” 6) You are threatened verbally, financially—even physically. 7) You are bullied. 8) And if you ask for help, you’re called a slacker or worse. 

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s NOT YOUR FAULT.

YOU ARE A VICTIM OF ABUSE.

So what should you do?  Sign up for a resiliency training? Meditate? Take deep breaths?  Your goal should NOT be to cope with abuse. Your goal should be to STOP it.

Physician burnout is a diagnosis that blames the victim, not the perpetrator. The term physician burnout IS physician abuse. It implies that YOU are to blame, not the system, not perpetrators of the mistreatment.

To prevent burnout, health care institutions may offer resiliency classes to train doctors to prioritize self-care and manage their emotions. WARNING: You can not meditate your way out of abuse. You can not take enough deep breaths in a year to end your abuse.

WHAT YOU MUST DO: If you are being abused, YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR ABUSER. I know it’s scary. But you are not alone. Need help with your escape route? Call me! I escaped. You can too.

End The Abuse! Stop Being Victimized. Download Instructions: Your FREE No B.S. Guide To Launching Your Ideal Clinic & Telling Your Employer To Take A Hike.

Want an ideal clinic? Join the Physician Teleseminar & Retreat.

YOU were born to be a healer, not a victim.

Please break the cycle of health care abuse that leads to so many suicides among docs:

Pamela Wible, M.D., founded the Ideal Medical Care Movement. When not treating patients, she devotes her life to helping her colleagues be doctors not slaves.  Image by Pamela Wible. Videos by GeVe.

Posted in Ideal Medical Care, Physician "Burnout", Physician Abuse & Bullying Tagged with: , , , , , ,
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14 comments on “Burnout Is Bullshit
  1. anne says:

    I would add another component to abuse; being forced to stand for 17 hours at a stretch, being forced to assume unnatural positions that will lead to permanent spinal problems (hi there, OBs!), and generally being forced as a condition of employment to function physically in ways that OSHA wouldn’t allow for a secretary or a custodian or a factory worker. How about breathing bone dust or vaporized bodily fluids for a 12 or 20 hour shift? There used to be a booklet from the ACS, I think, giving advice about resilience in the OR, things like wear compression stockings to avoid varicose veins (!) and hydrate to avoid kidney stones. I’m envisioning similar advice to big earning businessmen, lawyers, even politicians. I knew of a cardiothoracic physician, now retired, who was proud of being able to operate over 24 hours straight, and whose residents spoke about him with awe. Reminds me of the uranium miner in the 1950s who amused his colleagues by “washing” his torso and arms with yellowcake, a crudely refined form of uranium. Showing we can take it isn’t necessarily going to fix things. On the plus side, one of my pediatric subspecialty surgeons urges his residents/fellows to operate sitting down because they might want to have functioning legs in their 60s.

  2. Patty Alcala says:

    I agree whole-heartedly! You have got it right. Thank you for all that you do to help physicians and other healthcare providers to begin to realize that what they are feeling is actually abuse and that we all deserve better. You continue to do so much good!

  3. Steven says:

    The doctors in England went on strike at one point due to the horrible working conditions in the hospitals. We truly hold the power direct medicine in this country, it is a shame we are giving it away to business men and politicians.

  4. Steve Levitz says:

    Pamela MD
    I am a practicing board certified podiatrist private practice in Queens New York for 34 yrs
    I am also a Professor at The New York College of Podiatric Medicne
    For 35 yrs. Iwork at the Foot Center of New York which previously was known as the Foot Clinics of New York.
    I train the podiatry students how to examine, diagnose and treat patients with foot problems.
    In the past I Lectured and taught many courses in Biomechanics of the lower extremities and
    gross anatomy of the entire body and had a course in sports medicine and Orthoses of the lower extremities
    I continue to work at The Foot Center of New York at this time mostly clinical seeing patients with junior clinical students.
    I conduct an EBM course in which the students find an article published on a specific topic ala a mini symposium and we rate the artice accordingly while interjecting my coments about the authers and reviue of the Journal and article and refferences cited.
    I enjoy this emmensly, even more than the students because I can comment on the Journal and most of the authers most of which I am familiar with their hsitory or have had personal experience with.
    I find myself being a divorced Male 64 yrs old in a VERY BAD postion.
    My private Pactice single just me and one female worker seeing less and less patients per week while I do not own the property and my overhead is constantly increasing, while my practice in is decreasing.
    I work 7 days a week and am in a financial turmoil
    I DO NOT see a Happy Ending
    I am sorry to Burden you with my problems
    I do see my Primary Care every 3 months for my Hypertension which is controlled with medication and my Psychatrist monthy
    Please give me some advise?
    Sincerely;
    Steve Levitz DPM

  5. Regina puratich says:

    Keep the torch burning bright!

  6. Elias Anaissie says:

    Superb as always Dr. Wible. “Burnout” is the sanitized and dehumanizing term for physucain abuse just as “collateral damage” is for civilian deaths as a result of the “ordinance” dropped on them.
    As for Physician abuse, it is indeed rampant and likely to get worse with the increasing financial strains on the sickcare system we and our patients are living through and these problems are magnified by the very bureaucrats who abuse physicians and cherish the use of “burnout” while laughing all the way to the bank to cash their hefty salaries and fat bonuses. This includes physician bureaucrats who long forgot the “Hippocratic Oath” they swore to uphold, i.e. “patients first” …or enjoy the mental gymnastic of substituting the “a” in Hippocrath by an “I”.

    Join the idealmedicalcare.org to fight back on behalf of patients and their healers.
    Elias

  7. Sara says:

    I belong to a Facebook group of 50000 women physicians who are mothers (PMG). We are literally each other’s lifeline for truth and support. We are blamed by the public and are easy targets because the only public forum and voice out there that speaks for our humanity is YOU!!! The stories that are posted on a daily basis are gut wrenching and heart breaking. Personally I’m a single mother of 5 ( no child support) own my own practice because I DO believe in helping people and had to exit from corporate medicine. I make 65 thousand a year and can’t afford healthcare….this system is broken! Thank you from every cell of my being for the work you are doing.

  8. Anon says:

    what if you can’t leave? what if you’re a resident?

    • Pamela Wible MD says:

      Keep a notebook detailing the abuses. Turn hospital into OSHA for violations, workplace abuse, bullying, work hour restriction violations. Whatever you do, doing nothing is not an option. Write anonymous blogs at a minimum. Submit to me, KevinMD. Silence will not save us.

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