Stop Being a Victim of Your Career – Why Venting is Not Enough

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Stop Being a Victim of Your Medical Career – Why Venting will NEVER be enough

Doctor’s Pathologic Venting on the internet is one of the reasons I started

Venting is a SYMPTOM of BEING A VICTIM … there are much more effective actions you can take when you feel a need to Vent.


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Here’s what happened …

Several months ago, I joined the physician-only network at In my first week as a member, I read a post where a very popular member of the community described a vivid fantasy of using a nail gun on a “malingering” patient. The title of the post was, “My Ideal Office Fantasy”.

He had seen a patient who told his nurse their pain was 10/10 and yet seemed in No Apparent Distress.

The doctor then laid out a vivid fantasy of driving a 16 penny nail through the hand of the patient and telling him, “That is a 9/10, would you like to clarify your pain level now?”


CLICK HERE to Download the Disruptive Physician's Toolkit [ 10 Specific Ways to  Avoid the "Disruptive" Label ]


This post got over 100 comments from other physician members of Sermo in the following three hours … 95% of them supportive. Others mentioned their fantasies of throwing burning patients out windows or even “knee capping” them. I realize this may be hard to believe if you had not read the post … I assure you it shocked me to read it in black and white.

Here’s what I did …

I left a post wondering whether this doctor was actually burned out and needed to take a break. Then ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

I was “flamed”, shot down, verbally abused for pointing out that using a nail gun on a patient seemed inappropriate to me.

Dozens of posts came in telling me to
“Get Real … What’s Your Problem …

Venting? Healthy? Sermo is a physician-only  network where the message boards are not visible until after you log in. The posts are not discoverable outside the community. You can’t find them in a google search. I assumed these were authentic feelings he shared because there was little chance of “getting in trouble”.

Venting for sure … And VENTING IS NEVER ENOUGH.

Here’s why …

Feeling the need to Vent is often a sign you are Being a Victim

Yep … I just said Being a Victim … and I imagine that is difficult to hear —– much less imagine that you are potentially being a victim. In this case you are being a victim of your own career. And you can Stop Being a Victim once you realize what is going on here.

Three Signs You are Being a Victim

1) Blame
2) Justify
3) Complain / Vent

Any time you hear yourself doing any of those things … you are being a Victim. You are not taking full responsibility for your current situation. You are saying to yourself and the world that it is someone else’s fault that you are in this position. Until you recognize you are being a victim, you will feel justified in your blaming and venting. “What can I do, the system is onerous and EVERYONE is burned out?” Being a victim is just one of the things the majority of doctors do as a habit these days.

In reality … you are VENTING just enough emotional baggage to comfortably continue being a Victim. Venting will not work if you want to STOP being a Victim of Your Career.

Get a Group of Doctors Away from the Office for 15 Minutes and Just listen for the “VENTING” to Begin

We commiserate, one-up each other with stories of injustice, whine, piss and moan, shout and scream and argue and complain about how “the system” or the politicians or reform is royally screwing us … and then make sure we are back in the office in time for the next patient. Sound familiar?

Sure Venting FEELS good … expressing righteous indignation is satisfying for about 15 minutes … and it has completely worn off by the end of your next patient encounter.

Here’s How You STOP Being a Victim to Your Career

Step up and take responsibility for two things:

1)  Where You Are (and how you got here)

Who was driving this ship and making the decisions that got you here in the first place – anyhow? Yep, it was you. That doesn’t make your decisions good or bad, right or wrong … just means the place to look for who to blame is in the mirror. You can say, “I did it, I am responsible” and realize you can also choose to do something instead of venting and remaining a victim. You could take responsibility for …

2)  Making the Changes You Want in Your Life

Once you Stop Being a Victim – you can take responsibility for your life … ALL of it. You can choose to do things differently … to turn your VENTING in to an ACTION PLAN FOR CHANGE.  If you remain in “vent and pray” mode you are fulfilling Einstein’s famous definition of crazy. You are doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.

Here’s what you can do instead

- Listen to the things you Vent about the most
- What piece of your Vent is something you can take responsibility for and CHANGE?
- What is the first step to do that?
- Get out your Calendar …. When do you Plan to Get Started?


If you were to stop being a victim of your career — STOP all the blaming and justifying, complaining and venting …


CLICK HERE to Download the Disruptive Physician's Toolkit [ 10 Specific Ways to  Avoid the "Disruptive" Label ]

And when would NOW be the Right Time To Get Started ?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT and tell us your stop being a victim of your career action step #1

Tags: Physician Burnout, Physician Coaching