Physician Burnout - too much of a good thing?

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout and "Good Stress"

At every live training, I ask the group, "How would you describe the difference between stress and physician burnout?" Someone always musters a really hopeful look and chimes in with ...

"Well, stress can be good sometimes, right?"

The short answer is, "Yes".

Its what they are hoping I will say - as if those three letters will make everything better. As if that answer will make burnout go away, so we don't have to talk about it today. Talking about it would make it impossible to ignore. That is uncomfortable when you finally realize you are walking the cliff edge (see below).

That "Yes" begs another question:

If there is such a thing as "good stress",
then what goes wrong when stress gets tipped over into physician burnout?

Let's examine the answer to that question in today's blog post.

  • Let me show you a graph that shows the bell shaped curve mapping the relationship between stress and performance
  • I will also show you the cliff edge most doctors are walking that explains the high prevalence of physician burnout
  • And why you always have to be on the lookout for your last straw

Stress and Performance

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Tags: Physician burnout, good stress

Stop Physician Burnout - Building a better day off

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Physician Burnout - building a better day off

How many times have you looked forward to a day off work - a nirvana of rest, relaxation, recuperation, leisure, pleasure and la dolce vita?

And instead you ended up just powering through the list of busy work around the house you've been saving up for weeks ...

Catch up on the laundry, clean the house, balance the checkbook, do your taxes, hit the grocery store, mow your lawn, get a haircut ... and fall into a heap at the end of the day feeling no less rested than when you left work yesterday.

That's a crappy day off

Actually it is not a day off at all. It is just another day on a different punch list. It's another day on a different hamster wheel.  And it does not have to be that way.

Here are four steps to transform your days off from catch-up marathons or a haze of simple recuperation -  to true life balance. 



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Tags: Physician burnout, work life balance, day off, vacation

Physician Burnout - 7 ways your Physician Wellness Committee will FAIL

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physician Burnout - 7 Ways Your Physician Wellness Committee will Fail

So very few organizations make an effort to address physician burnout proactively … it is an industry wide blind spot. We are all so busy putting out the daily fires of patient care and ceaseless organizational change that doing something for the people in the system never makes it onto your punch list. 

If you do not address workplace stress and physician burnout proactively you are doomed ...

... to receive lower patient satisfaction and quality scores
- higher error rates and malpractice risk
- be forced to deal with disruptive physician behavior
- and higher than normal physician and staff turnover

What if you have a Physician Wellness Committee?

You are not out of the woods by any means. Your organization is one of the 10% who are making an attempt to address physician burnout proactively. You are one of the lucky ones. 

And your Physician Wellness Committee will fail if you don't understand these 7 critical errors I see organizations make over and over again.

Do not fall into these traps

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Tags: Physician burnout, physician wellness committee

Physician Engagement Missing Step - Podcast

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician-burnout-physician-engagement-podcast-dike-drummond_optPatient and Physician Engagement are impossible when you miss this important first step - Podcast

Enrollment Precedes Engagement
Your patients and physicians will remain unengaged until you enroll them in the benefits of working with you. When physicians and patients understand What's In It For Me (WIIFM) and are clear that they want what you are proposing - when they are enrolled - only then will they engage and participate in their treatment plan or your practice improvement initiative. 

Here are the conversation tools you  need to enroll both patients and physicians effectively.

In this podcast interview I give you both a patient and physician enrollment scenario and the specific questions you ask to complete the enrollment process.

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Tags: physician engagement, patient engagement, physician leadership, physician enrollment, patient enrollment, physician engagement podcast, physician engagement interview

Resident Wellness Program Key Considerations Podcast

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Resident Wellness and Resilience Podcast

What are the key components of an effective burnout prevention program for Residency and Fellowship trainees?

Amy Vinson M.D., F.A.A.P from the Boston Children's Pediatric Anesthesia program and I sat down today and recorded this powerful conversation about the stresses of becoming a doctor. This is the master list of causes of burnout we must mitigate against in residency.

The message of the Quadruple Aim is spreading. If you want to take better care of your residents and give them the skills to avoid burnout in the future, this conversation is a superb place to start.

A Must Listen if you are involved in Resident Wellness and Resilience Program design.

(a full list of the topics we covered is below the audio frame) 

Dike Drummond MD, CEO
Amy Vinson M.D., F.A.A.P – Boston Children’s Pediatric Anesthesia Fellowship

Building an effective Resident Wellness and Resilience Program Podcast

Topics Covered:

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Tags: resident burnout, resident resiliency, resident resilience, residency wellness program podcast, resident wellness podcast, resident resilience podcast, resident wellness, residency wellness program

A Gratitude Journal is a Weapon in the fight against Physician Burnout

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

A Gratitude Journal is a powerful weapon in the fight against Physician Burnout

A large body of research shows a weekly Gratitude Journal is a simple way to help anyone - even physicians - be healthier and happier. It is an antidote to our constant focus on disease, problems and the frustrations of modern medical practice.

In this article I will share the research evidence for the effectiveness of gratitude, including a gratitude bibliography, and show you five keys to a maximally effective Gratitude Journal. Hint: there is a dose response curve. If you over do it, even gratitude loses effectiveness.

Perhaps the biggest danger of never counting your blessings I have noticed is this ... 

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Tags: Physician burnout, gratitude journal, gratitude

The Physician's 2015 Breakthrough Process

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

In just one hour, answering these 10 questions could make 2015 your best year yet

In large part, your happiness in 2015 depends on the following thought experiment …

Imagine it is Christmas of Next Year and you are looking back on 2015, a big grin on your face. It has been a marvelous year, filled with firsts for you in your practice and you and your family ... outside of work.

What is driving your sense of satisfaction.

  • What are the successes of 2014 you have been able to build on?
  • What have you changed / accomplished / experienced / let go of?
  • What are the old problems/challenges you have been able to solve for the first time?

Exactly what would it take to make 2015 YOUR Best Year Yet?

Let’s make it a year of breakthrough success, happiness and satisfaction … both in your practice and in your larger life. What do you say? Here is the 2015 Breakthrough Planning Process.

Your experience of 2015 depends on setting and keeping specific intentions and goals for the year. To get what you want, you have to slow down and figure out what that is. We invite you to invest an hour in getting clear on your ideal vision for 2015 using specially worded questions designed to help you focus and prioritize. Take some time to put YOU first.

Otherwise the #800 gorilla that is your medical career will continuel to drive your life, leaving you just scraps of time and energy around the edges. 

Here is 2015 Breakthrough Planning Process specifically designed to help you breakthrough in those areas where you are feeling stuck – at work or home. These 10 highly focused questions only take a relaxed hour yet can make a massive difference in your quality of life in the 12 months ahead. Ready? 

Print out the worksheets to get started

DOWNLOAD the 2015 Breakthrough Process Now

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Tags: dike drummond, the happy md, breakthrough process, 2013 breakthrough, breakthru process, strategic plan, best year yet

Happy Holidays and Thank YOU for a Wonderful 2014

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

From all of us here at The Happy MD, thank you for a 2014 that was beyond all expectations

All of us here at The Happy MD have had a year of milestones, none of which would be possible without you.

Here is short Holiday Thank You Card and tour of Seattle's world-famous Pike Place Market. You will even see the flying fish!

Let me take this opportunity to thank some very special people individually

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Work Life Balance - 4 Secrets to Saying "No"

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Work Life Balance is a key to preventing physician burnout.

And work life balance depends on your ability to say a simple, two letter word. That word is "No".

In my first several calls with a new physician coaching client, we work to deconstruct their current state of overload. Often I will ask, "How did things get so out of balance? Think back to when you took on all these commitments. Did you actually say "Yes" to them all?"

Almost always they shake their head and don't recall ever actually saying "Yes" ... and at the same time, they admit the also never said "No". In fact doctors almost never say no when asked to participate in a committee, take on an extra project or lend a helping hand ... whether at work, your kids school or any number of other areas outside work.

Let's face it, we suck at saying "No" and the result is the overload that is the hallmark of physician burnout

In this short video, you will learn 4 keys to saying "No" with some elegance and grace.

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Tags: work life balance

The Medical Marriage - Date Night Power Tips and more ...

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

The Medical Marriage - how to create and maintain a passionate relationship when you are a practicing physician

This week I lead a workshop for medical couples and a very interesting thing happened.

Two long time couples got into arguments in the training

After some detailed questions it became clear that literally the only thing holding their relationships together now is the money. Each physician spouse was literally begging to be a priority in their doctor's life in front of the whole room.

All they wanted was some of their time and attention. In each case the physician's time, energy and awareness was almost completely occupied by their career - and had been so for decades. 

The spouse wasn't even playing second fiddle here ... they were a member of the audience at best. Not good.

Your relationship does not have to be this way

In this blog post let me show you the psychodynamics of a medical marriage, the #1 tool to maintain the health and passion in your marriage if you are a physician (or married to one) and some recommended reading for all medical couples.

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