In 2013 I finally mustered the courage to write about my personal experience with burnout and leaving practice. I was shocked when the article went viral. Clearly my story struck a nerve. Since then I have made it my mission to learn all I can about physician burnout—its underlying causes, its consequences, and potential fixes.
In the course of my work I’ve interviewed dozens of physicians, researchers, health care leaders, and experts in burnout. I’ve learned that it’s a big problem for many physicians (actually it’s a big problem for many other health care providers, but what I know best is its effects on physicians). I’ve learned that understanding the root causes of physician burnout requires that you untangle the underlying flaws in our health care system. I’ve learned that burnout is not about the “weakness” or sensitivity of individuals and it can’t be prevented through individual wellness solutions alone.
Along my journey of discovery, I’ve learned about some really innovative ideas to prevent burnout and fix the underlying problems in health care. In these posts I’ll share what I've discovered in the hopes that these cool ideas will spread. Imagine a scenario in which physicians care for patients in settings where “things work,” where care providers and other staff are respected by and collaborate with administration, where physicians can see a sustainable career ahead, and where physicians can find the joy in practice they envisioned when they first applied to medical school. I think these ideas could help make this dream a reality.
- Co-Author of the forthcoming book Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine
- An award-winning writer with deep expertise in performance improvement, writing for the Institute for Health Care Improvement, the American Medical Association, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the and Informed Medical Decisions Foundation.
- A physician who practiced primary care in Boston, after earning an MD from Thomas Jefferson University and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University
- An experienced interviewer who has conducted 100+ in-depth interviews of a vast array of experts, researchers, coaches, and physicians who have or are experiencing burnout
- Contributor to the 2015 Johnson Foundation Wingspread Report on Physician Burnout
- Contributor to multiple US health blogs including KevinMD and a submission to NPR's CommonHealth Blog in 2013 that went viral, fueling her commitment to the mission of preventing burnout and restoring joy to practice