As physicians, when we continually work and give of ourselves from a place of obligation and burnout, we will never be our best. We may even actually be our worst. That’s not fair to ourselves, and frankly, it’s not fair to our patients, colleagues, families, or anyone else who receives a second-rate version of us because we refuse to acknowledge our own unhappiness.
If you hate practicing medicine, I would implore you to stop practicing.
Don’t go another day dreading doing your work.
Instead, I challenge you to use your medical expertise, knowledge and experience in ways that energize you and allow you to keep on giving. That was the whole point of years dedicated to learning, right? To train you to do the work you would love.
So, I call BS on staying in medicine in a very rigid way. Because, there really is no “right” path. Sure, there are evidence-based, best practices and guidelines but we all have a different style, mojo, groove in which we practice.
I also call BS to the nay-sayers that criticize colleagues as “wasting medical training and resources” to make career moves to be more fulfilled and happy. We are all ever evolving and just because what suited you in your 20s, does not mean it continues to make sense for you in your 50s. Life changes. You change. Your career changes. We are all a work-in-progress.
And speaking of work, you worked way too freaking hard to get through and to this point in your careers to grind yourselves to dust and take on the weight of the world as if it was all yours.
These jobs we’re clasping onto as if it were the end of the world, they will still be there if we decide we need to practice medicine differently. They’ll be there if we leave for a bit, then choose to go back to them with our spirits refreshed and refilled. They will be there for other doctors who are better positioned to do that job.
You are not the job.
There are other options out there, friend! It’s hard and scary to do something different than what we’ve always done. But it’s harder to see yourself fall apart by trying to live up to do joyless work full of unrealistic expectations.
So take that step.
Stop doing the work you hate, start leaning into your happiness now.
PS: If enough physicians do it together, there’s no stopping us. The culture of medicine will change and I say, it must. Let’s love our work again together.