A recent burnout prevention training for residents revealed the importance of the teachable moment for their future employers.
Here's how I learned this important lesson:
There are some things doctors can't really learn until the time is right -- and residency may not be that right time -- no matter how much we wish it was.
I just delivered a half day retreat for a group of residents a large east coast independent academic medical center. In planning the event, I sifted through my experience coaching hundreds of doctors who burned out after residency ... when they were in practice. I was looking for a short list of skills to answer this question:
"Given what burns out practicing physicians, what can I teach these residents now that could prevent their burnout in the future?"
Back to the future
Basically I envisioned myself as a representative of these residents future selves, coming back to teach them the tools they need to avoid physician burnout when they are out in practice.
- So I put together a three training, four hour event
- Delivered the trainings
- And watched carefully to see how they landed with the residents
- What were they able to pick up and use right away?
- What concepts/tools went over their head?
- What appeared to useful and what appeared to be useless at this point in their careers?
My experience gives us all some information to answer the Teachable Moment Question:
Is residency the best place to teach the tools to prevent burnout from happening when these doctors are out in practice?
Or is there a better teachable moment?