There’s not enough time

Hey friends and colleagues, 

On Thursday, I hosted a meeting for physicians regarding burnout. At one point, there were about 7 physicians and nurses on the call. That’s wonderful! And, we recorded the session so that others, who may have missed, could watch later. I’ll take seven people to help, don’t get me wrong. It’s why I shifted from 1:1 therapy to organizational consultation and training – I wanted to have a more significant impact. But here’s the problem. The program that I was hosting the call for serves dozens of physicians. Seven were able to attend. 

After the call was over, I knew the words that were shared, the information sought out and the community that gathered provided much-needed support. But, I also left wondering what happened. Here are some thoughts that went through my mind:

  • The content is horrible. (Don’t we always go there first?) You must not think this is helpful. But hey, you’re here and I’ve read the surveys, so…
  • You’re still seeing patients. This is a likely culprit. Lunch meetings are tough. But let’s face it, so are morning or evening meetings. Darn.
  • You’re catching up. Another likely culprit. Finishing charts, calling in prescriptions, and answering questions. Often it leaves little time for lunch, let alone a meeting.
  • Competing needs – seeing a new baby over lunch or attending to a delivery, running a personal errand or catching up on calls & emails. 
  • A meeting about burnout, or crossing something off the list of to-dos? It’s a tough call.

The answer is pretty straightforward. There’s not enough time. Your days are packed with obligations and compounded by staffing needs and demanding schedules. Pausing to take in a meeting, even if it’s helpful and meaningful, feels like an unaffordable luxury.

If I may, I’d like to offer a few suggestions that might be helpful:

  1. Give yourself permission to block off time for yourself. It can be for anything you desire – even if that means 15 minutes of doing nothing at all. Doing nothing IS DOING SOMETHING.
  2. Reach out to HR about your workflow. Sometimes even small shifts in well vs. acute visits or same-day appointments can make a huge difference. 
  3. Pretend a meeting that’s for you is for your patient or an obligatory hospital requirement. Make YOU a priority. 
  4. See if there are meetings at your clinic or hospital for affinity groups – black physician groups, LGBTQ+ groups, working parent groups – spaces that you’ll find support and encouragement from peers facing similar issues. 
  5. Check-in with a colleague or partner. If you’re not ok, likely they’re not ok.

I know these suggestions might not solve causes of burnout, but they will decrease isolation and protect your time a bit more. 

I want you to join me for a conversation about trauma and provider stories. How trauma manifests, how it can be triggering, and what to do about trauma – we’ll talk about all of it. And the good news – you can listen ANY time. Here’s the link for the podcast launch party – it will be a PARTY. Join me and Dr. Ken Ginsberg as we talk about resilience and you’ll have a chance to win a $75 Spafinder gift card – who couldn’t use that now? REGISTER NOW!

Oh, and PLEASE email me back to let me know what steps you are taking to address your own burnout — I want (and love) to hear from you!

With compassion for all you do,

Dr. Amy