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The Top 6 Things Physicians

Don’t Know About Burnout

Attention, private practice owners!

Are you so burned out, you’re starting to wonder if you should quit your career?

First of all, don’t do that.

Secondly, you’re not alone. 

Over 122,000 physicians in 2022 left their jobs due to feeling stressed out and exhausted.

While it would make sense to get rid of whatever is stressing you out (aka your career), the solution is actually deeper and more personal than that.

You need to make real changes to look within and take care of yourself. 

Burnout can actually change your brain structurally and understanding how that occurs is the key to reversing it. 

Tune in to the Provider’s Edge podcast this week, where I interview Dr. Darlene Mayo, leader, speaker, coach, and breakthrough consultant.

You will learn why yoga sessions and week-long vacations won’t fix your burnout and provide real solutions that will. 

Dr. Mayo is a board-certified neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who deeply understands the electrical charges and chemistry of the brain.

Due to her research, she is able to help her clients reach their breakthroughs with a combination of evidence-based science and inner wisdom. 

Listen anywhere you get your podcastin' on.

Show Summary

The risk of burnout in healthcare is higher than ever. The demands of the job, the long hours, and the push for perfection have all contributed to increasing levels of burnout for physicians.

Burnout leads to increased medical errors, less time spent between provider and patient, and staffing shortages. Burnout in the last few years has led many doctors to flee the profession--it's estimated that 122,000 doctors will have left for new careers by 2033*. Combined with the well-known nursing shortage currently taxing the industry, finding ways to combat burnout has become more important than ever.

But there is good news. You can stop burnout from taking your joy away and eroding your career. The first step is understanding some important things about burnout and how we typically handle it. Some of the ways we cope with burnout may actually be keeping our brains in a constant state of burnout. 

Investing in your personal identity can change your brain in a way to avoid burnout. Here are six important things to know before burnout takes your career away.

1. You don't have to shift out of medicine

Handling burnout is not something they teach you in medical school. And once you're a practicing physician, you may get advice that's not all that helpful, like "Go have a coaching session," or "Do a yoga session this weekend." While coaching and yoga can be helpful at the moment for stress relief, they don't address the issues causing burnout. This leads physicians to consider switching careers, but you don't have to do this! Once you understand the science of what happens in the brain when burnout occurs, you can actually thrive in your career.

2. Identity gives you peace and joy

Maybe a career switch is what you need, or maybe you're really meant to do what you're doing right now. But how do you know? Identity is key to tapping into your passion and joy. Once you know that you are pursuing the right life for you, you will gain a boost of energy and focus that will not only allow you to sustain a career, but thrive. When you understand this, you grant yourself the freedom to live your best life. You unlock peace and joy.

3. Vacation is not the definitive answer

When we're feeling burnout, looking forward to that vacation seems to be the only thing keeping us going. But whether that vacation lasts a week, 10 days, or a whole month, we all know what it's like to return to work. It can feel twice as hard as when you left. On that first day back, you may even say to yourself, "I wish I'd never gone on vacation." The restoration from vacation is erased right there. While time off is important, you have to adopt a regular restoration mindset to truly reap the benefits.

4. The "solutions" may be signs of burnout

When the vacation doesn't feel restorative, you may start looking forward to the next one. If that doesn't work, you may feel it's time to start job hopping or even looking for a new practice. Rather than finding real solutions for burnout, these are actually signs of burnout. Switching cities or jobs is not the solution, but changing some things about yourself is.

5. Burnout actually changes the brain

It's easy to understand the chemical changes in the brain when we're suffering from burnout. We feel edgy and can lack patience for our co-workers. But burnout can also physically change the brain! When we're stuck in burnout, a functional MRI of the brain will actually show brainwaves stuck in the Beta state. While we depend on the Beta state to make sure we accomplish our daily tasks, we need to get to the Theta state to feel calm and at peace.

6. You can retrain your brain

You can actually retrain your brain to get to the Theta frequency more often. Once you slow down, healing starts to happen and inner-wisdom is unlocked. This is when our careers start to feel more manageable and burnout becomes a thing of the past. A purposeful retreat designed to retrain your brain can give you the restorative healing that you need.

This article is a summary of my conversation with Dr. Darlene Mayo on the Provider's Edge Podcast. Subscribe 🔔 and listen 🔊to the entire discussion now❗


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*Statistic provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges

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Healthcare Private Practice Owners

I can help you run a peak performance team while gaining you a day per week!

After overcoming burnout working in surgery, I went back to my roots in neuroscience and public health helping healthcare practice owners and their teams to develop mental immunity so they can do less, achieve higher, and enjoy more.
My clients stop having endless to-do lists, constantly putting out fires, or are not able to move steadily forward.
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