Anchoring Rather than Resilience for Physician Wellbeing

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

An anchor, a tether, a life line and a way back to yourself

All doctors - everyone who sees patients for a living - need a solid anchor.

If / when you fall in, you can pull yourself back to shore hand over hand, make it to dry land and catch your breath.

The conversation about physician burnout is often dominated by the term RESILIENCE. We doctors need to be tougher, more elastic, stop complaining. 

I ran into an alternate way of looking at this issue via a blog post by Brenda Osieyo

Here is the quote that inspired her and me; about maintaining an anchor and a way back to yourself now that you have chosen the Lightworker's Path - working with sick, hurting, scared, dying patients and their families.

Tags: stop physician burnout, physician resilience


Physician Burnout and the Mechanics of Mindfulness

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Since the 1970's, studies have shown that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an effective tool to lower the stress of the practice of medicine and prevent physician burnout.

Jon Kabat-Zinn and the pioneers at U Mass have proven that physicians who take their eight week meditation and yoga training have superior resilience skills and subsequent studies over the last 40 years have repeatedly confirmed their initial observations. 

In reviewing this literature, three big questions come to mind for most doctors.

1)  What is mindfulness anyway?

2)  Just how does mindfulness cause its therapeutic effect?

3)  Is eight weeks of meditation training the ONLY way to be mindful at work?


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Let me share my answers to these questions, coming from three different levels of experience:

Tags: Mindfulness, stop physician burnout


Physician Work Hours and Depression - the Dose-Response Curve

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

A recent study reported in the NEJM reveals the Dose-Response Curve between hours worked by resident interns and depression prevalence. 

This was a huge study, over an 11 year time span, showing a powerful dose response curve between hours worked as a physician and depression prevalence. Said another way: too much time spent as a "provider" inside the healthcare delivery system is bad for your mental health.

I deliberately did not write, "too much time seeing patients" in the sentence above,  because we both know the "job" of being an intern or a practicing doctor is so much more complicated than just patient care. 

This is a massively important fundamental observation for all practicing physicians and for US national healthcare policy. 

Let's take a quick dive into the details.

Tags: stop physician burnout


Physician Burnout and Doctors 3 Energy Banks

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Physicians have three sources of energy to draw upon in practice and their larger life

In this post you will learn:

  • The differences in these 3 distinct types of energy
  • The symptoms that arise when you are in the negative in any individual account
  • How you fill each one to the brim

These simple principles will supercharge your ability to recognize and prevent your own physician burnout.

Tags: stop physician burnout


Old School Physician Burnout Quote of the Week

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

A member of our network just sent me this quote.

I believe it is meant to be some kind of funny ... or a perhaps is offered up as a twisted "reality check" to those who attempt to have healthy boundaries between work and home and run into this individual who appears to claim Iron Man status.

It is certainly old school and completely unhealthy and just plain wrong. This is the workaholic, superhero, Lone Ranger, perfectionist programming we are all victim to.  

This is the boomer philosophy that makes it impossible to have healthy boundaries and admit to any struggle. This is where Imposter Syndrome begins. I feel like I want to take a shower after I read this. You?

Tags: stop physician burnout