Burned Out Over Burnout by Pat Conrad MD

This last weekend of summer – sigh – reminds us all that it’s important to take a breath, take a break, and focus on our own well being.  Or so that’s the word from the finger-on-the-pulse AAFP.  I stumbled over their section named “Focus on Physician Well-being.”  This included the following submissions:  For This FP, Faith and Family Life Help Stave Off Burnout; FP Achieves Wellness by Bucking Traditional Practice; Yoga, Volunteerism Help Medical Student Battle Burnout; A Year’s Reprieve in New Zealand Gives FP Fresh Perspective; Resident Confronts Burnout by Launching Wellness Program; Embracing Whole-Person Care Key to Beating Burnout, Says FP.

Further down the page are some more attention grabbers:  AAFP Joins National Collaborative to Promote Clinician Well-being; AAFP Joins House Members to Spark Burnout Awareness (c’mon, that reads funny); Speakers Chart Paths from Physician Burnout to Well-being; I Bounced back from Burnout by Setting Boundaries, Priorities; I Filled My Prescription Against Burnout at the Gym; After Hitting the Wall, How Do I Bounce Back?; Try PROBE Tool to Help Stave Off Burnout (not sure probe and tool are attractive in the same sentence); Can Mindfulness Meditation Deliver Us From Burnout?; Give Residents Tools to Turn Tide on Physician Burnout; and a final, absolute gem, Physician Burnout:  The AAFP is Winning Battles For You.

This all could be construed as one hell of a unique marketing campaign to attract would-be FP’s:  Get burned out, volunteer, pray, go to the gym, practice yoga and meditation, embrace yourself, escape to New Zealand!  It’s hard to see why med students aren’t beating down the doors.

Reading about the AAFP joining a national clinician well being collaborative yielded a couple of goodies.  This gabfest is called the Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-being and Resilience.  If you don’t think that name alone is hilarious on the irony alone, then this should help:  “The collaborative, which the AAFP helped launch as one of 36 inaugural sponsors, plans to publish reports, host public meetings and develop support tools for clinicians during 2017 and 2018. The goals are to improve systemic issues that lead to increased clinician burnout and provide resources for clinicians who seek support.”

Still not laughing?  Try this:  “Clif Knight, M.D., AAFP senior vice president for education, spoke at the meeting about the aims of the initiative. He said reducing burnout will require addressing sources of frustration throughout the health care system. The AAFP is preparing to roll out member tools and CME opportunities specifically for family physicians in the coming months.”  Now when have new CME opportunities not made you feel more relaxed, mindful, and self-embracing?

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Doug, if you are accepting new associate memberships to your Medical Axis of Evil, I’d like to nominate this specimen:  “EHRs were sold as being good for patient care, but they are actually used for billing,” said Lois Nora, M.D., J.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the American Board of Medical Specialties. “How do we reframe it?”  No mob boss from the ABMS can take a back seat to anyone when it comes to causing physician burnout.

The med schoolers will be glad to know that, “More than 100 medical schools are helping their students by offering an elective course called healing arts that include five sessions where participants attend lectures and then break into groups to discuss their values and their reasons for entering medicine.”  That will really help on the USMLE Step 1 (remember kiddies, they won’t allow juice boxes in the exam room).

And if you are already long down the log flume?    “The Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Professionalism and Peer Support offers guidance on interactions with medical teams that promote mutual respect, trust and teamwork…”

And that should be an effective substitute for less hassle and better pay.


104230cookie-checkBurned Out Over Burnout by Pat Conrad MD