I have only been in practice for 14 years, but I remember the exact reason for my first experience of burnout. Medicine was rigid, and for good reason as we deal with life or death on a daily basis. However, as I looked out into the working world there was no room for flexibility in the traditional primary care practice. Complementary medicine was looked down upon. Wanting to work part time was viewed as laziness. As a woman, there was always more to prove, and wanting a family was not encouraged (even amongst other female doctors). There was no conversation about work life balance, and no awareness or concern for the physician’s state of mind or well-being. However, today things are shifting. I teach medical students and residents daily, and I’m seeing the mindset shift towards the enjoyment of life as a physician. Resident physicians are outwardly expressing the desire to have families and be able to spend time with them. There is a growing awareness of the need for physician stress relief and burnout prevention strategies from hospital organizations down to medical schools and residency programs.
As a private practice physician, entrepreneur and executive coach who works with other women physicians and doctor mommies to create balance. I’m seeing a trend. There are many women in medicine who love what they do and wish to continue doing it. There are also mommy docs who are clear that medicine is not the last stop in their working careers. Then there is the hybrid. The doctor who loves her career, but is looking for an additional part time stream of revenue that is both lucrative and fulfilling. There is a clear shift in what we are creating in our careers as physicians, and this gives us access to shifting the way we create our careers as doctors. As women and especially moms in medicine, we have more power than we realize. We have the opportunity to take a major role in re-shaping the culture of medicine.
While these actions may not seem significant or irrelevant to the changing culture of medicine, each action that we take creates a ripple that which we may never see the result. When we do take the actions mentioned above, we not only empower ourselves and other female physicians in our current generation, we model boldness, balance, assertiveness, and self love for our predecessors. By owning our power and taking full responsibility for what we create, we can be catalysts for a long overdue transformation in the physician workforce.
Be A Part of the Solution. If you like it, Please Share it. And If you would like to learn more about how we create breakthroughs for physicians, visit www.thestressfreemd.com. Maiysha Clairborne MD is an integrative medicine physician and physician wellness coach, and is the author of The Wellness Blueprint and Eat Your Disease Away.
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