My name is Jennifer Zomnir and I have a very important message for the doctors out there that may be suffering like I was. About two years ago I worked in a big-box clinic and I saw a lot of patients a day in 5-10 minute slots, went home at night and worked on charts, worked on charts on the weekend and I missed time with my family and my children. I thought that was the way that it was and there weren’t any other options out there. And my husband Kolin he found Dr. Pamela Wible and I read her book, Pet Goats & Pap Smears, and I was inspired and came to a conference. This is my fourth time to be here now and since meeting her and finding out there were other ways to do this, I have opened up my ideal medical clinic.
I no longer spend nights and weekends doing charts. I see my family everyday. I go to every event. I go to work at 10:00 in the morning. I leave at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I don’t work on the weekends. I am incredibly happy. I had no idea how much I was suffering before. I thought that medicine had to be this way. I thought that I had to see people in 5-minute blocks of time, I thought that I had to rush, that this was just medicine and this is the way that it had to be. I really had no idea that there were alternative ways to practice medicine. I never thought I could open up my own clinic. That wasn’t something that I thought was even feasible for me. I thought that I had to work for a big group to have successful insurance contracts. I thought that I needed someone to manage my benefits. None of that is true. You can completely and totally do this on your own. It’s very simple.
You are told to stay where you are for a reason. Your employers, your hospital administrators they know what you’re worth. The problem is that you don’t. You bill out so much more than you actually bring home. You chase the carrot of your production bonus. You may be on a salary. You may not even get a production bonus. You may not even know how much you charge per office visit. How often does a patient ask you, “How much is this?” or “I got a bill and I don’t understand it.” How often do you have to say, “I really just don’t know about that. Go talk to someone up front and they’ll help you out with that. The less you know, the less empowered you are.
I encourage you to start looking into your situation. Look at your life. Are you happy? Do you take vacations? Do you avoid vacations because the catastrophe of your clinic would be so hard to take a vacation because there is so much to do when you get home that it’s not even worth leaving. Really look at your life and ask yourself, “Is this how I want to live for the next 20, 25, 30 years?” “Would I encourage my own children to go into medicine?” “Would I do this again if I had the opportunity?” If the answers are “Absolutely not. I would do something different, I would not encourage my children, my life is miserable, I never see my family, my marriage in on the rocks. . .” whatever it is and certainly if you are feeling suicidal because your job sucks and you know it in your heart, it’s time to stop, change, do something different. If you’re to the point where you feel like your only option is suicide, stop. Please. There are other ways.
I am so happy. Starting the business was so easy. I make my own schedule. Life is beyond fabulous now. My husband is happy. My children are happy. My children come to work with me. I’m training them how to be doctors. I would encourage them to go to medical school if they wanted to and I would be proud of that and know that they’re going into the best profession that there is. So please rethink your decision and look at other ways of doing this and understand that it’s not hard. You can be happy. You can do something different. And it’s okay. Please stop and think about what you are about to do.
Hi, I’m Jennifer’s husband Kolin. I met my wife right after she got out of residency so I got to see the transition from happy person to a very unhappy wife, unhappy family. It was like some other people said it’s the boiling frog in the water theory. You don’t notice the changes until it’s too late. Like she said our marriage was rocky, our family wasn’t very happy. She wasn’t home very much. And this was after 5 or 6 years of being in this treadmill system.
In the beginning it was fine, ya know. She didn’t have a whole lot of patients, she’d come home, she’d be happy, she’d get to treat people, take care of them. But I got to see the transition. It was hard to see myself too because it happened so slowly. But at a certain point you realize life isn’t good for anybody and there had to be some changes and we talked about a few things and you start doing some searches on the Internet and you find something about happy doctors and one thing leads to another and that’s how we finally ended up here. I think I’m the first spouse to come to one of these so the only thing I can say to spouses (and to the doctors that have a spouse) as a spouse if you see your doctor-spouse is not happy, encourage some changes and like I told some other people here at the retreat you can be supportive, but you also have to give that push. You can just “You can do it, you can do it, you can do it . . .” It’s gotta be “Let’s do it! Let’s go make these changes, let’s be happy people again.”
For the doctors that have a spouse you need to understand that your spouse is in a tough place dealing with all the things you’re going through as well. So if you’re in a marriage or even in a relationship, to me it just kind of comes back down to love. If you love this person you want them to be happy. Sometimes it takes change so you got to do that and you get it done.
Pamela Wible, M.D. is a family physician and “liberator of physicians from treadmill medicine.” This video was filmed by GeVe at our biannual physician retreat. Come join us! Questions? Contact Dr. Wible.