Physician Burnout, Vulnerability and Your Group's Culture
I am often asked if I am familiar with the work of Brene Brown and especially her tremendously popular TED videos "The power of vulnerability" and "Listening to shame". These are fabulous introductions to the topic of vulnerability that can help all of us who see patients on two distinct levels.
I highly recommend these videos to all physicians because vulnerability and shame are woven through any authentic healing encounter. It is important to understand and navigate the patient's shame and vulnerability whenever you enter the exam room.
Brene Brown's work is also immediately relevant to physician burnout. Vulnerability and shame are experience all of us feel personally when our practice becomes too much. This is especially true for male physicians because of our habit of not reaching out for help.
I love Brene Brown's work and it is incomplete.
She leaves out the most important source of the experience of being vulnerable for physicians.
She points out the willingness to be vulnerable is an act of courage. This is true for most of us. If you speak your truth openly and with transparency, you will probably feel like you are being brave ... like you are taking a risk. Why is that?
Dr. Brown believes it is an innate feature of our human nature. We naturally feel vulnerable when we tell our truth. I disagree.
There are outside forces that create this fear of shame.
The source of this sense of vulnerability is hidden in plain sight if you remember that you speak the truth within a larger context.