The seven holes in medical education that set doctors up for burnout

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Our physician coaching team and I have experience with thousands of doctors over the last 13 years who've come to us burned out, exhausted and wondering how much longer they can keep going like this.

We have developed a structured method to help them recover from burnout through a laser focus on new actions aimed at building their Ideal Practice.

We have known for years that these new actions cluster into seven distinct groups.

It's recently become clear to me that each of these seven tool sets are essential to health and well-being in modern Physicians and all seven are missing from our current medical education process.



Now it seems strange to me that medical school, residency and fellowship would fail to teach the skills required to create a practice that provides long-term fulfillment after graduation. 

These seven missing skill sets are a giant hole in doctors medical education as damaging as a missing hard hat to a construction worker, or bulletproof vest to Marine.

These skills are the key to a long, healthy career as a practicing physician.

If we only give you the tools for clinical care within your specialty and leave you with no means to identify and build your ideal practice or construct a meaningful and balanced life ... you are being thrown to the wolves - especially in today's profit-driven and short-staffed medical environment.

Here are three recent signs that doctors are recognizing the threat to their career.

I imagine them looking into the future, imagining a practice like that of their faculty and blurting out the phrase made famous by

Here are the seven missing skill sets of the medical education process

1) Skills to define, build, construct and defend your personal definition of your IDEAL PRACTICE. We learn how to survive residency, but clarity on your definition of your Ideal Practice is left off the curriculum.

2) Practice efficiency skills to Get Home Sooner

3) Life Balance and Boundaries Skills

4) The skills of mindfulness, presence and emotional continence in the midst of a busy patient care work day. We call this Eye of the Storm lessons. Our One Minute Mindfulness training is research-proven to lower stress in practicing physicians.

5) Tools to manage your boss for employee physicians. How to build relationships of influence up and across the chain of command, rather than get labeled disruptive.

6) Leadership Power Tools to become a more effective leader, release your Lone Ranger programming and stop working so hard. This skill set is the exact opposite of doctor's traditional leadership style - the give-orders-and-expect-obedience-paradigm.

7) And last but perhaps most important -- the skills to recognize when job change is the best move, then find, interview, negotiate, contract and onboard yourself into a new and much better position. For a physician who is facile and comfortable with job search, this is an incredible job market and there really are greener pastures on all sides.

I am not nominating this as the comprehensive list of skill sets that would benefit modern physicians.

Please add your own missing skill nominees in the comments below.



Tags: stop physician burnout, medical education