From Stress And Struggle To Ease and Flow

Define It To Find It: 5 Pillars for Physician Well-being

For The Purpose-Filled Physician

We're Not Here To Fix Patients. We're Privileged To Partner With Them

Like many doctors my decision to become an MD was made before I really knew what it entailed. After many years of study and training there I was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) waiting for the patient, this tiny 500 gram neonate, to show some sign of improvement.

What they didn’t teach in medical school is how to detach from the outcome. They didn’t drill home the importance of not attaching your identity, your abilities, and your confidence to whether or not a patient makes it. They didn’t emphasize that despite everything you do, there are times when a patient has a less desired outcome or doesn’t make it and you as the doctor have to go on.

You go on. You see the next patient in the next room. You answer the pages calling you to another delivery or the next emergency. You do all that is required of you as a doctor without skipping a beat until your shift has ended. Your relief has arrived. Then you head home knowing that you’ll do it all again the next day.

What you haven’t factored into this equation, this thing called life in medicine, is that you need time to process, to reflect, and to heal. 

Instead you may be doing what I did --> keep going. That’s how I spent the first decade of my life in the medicine. And as I looked to colleagues and mentors they seemed to be doing okay, so I thought it must be me. I was able to coach and support colleagues and families on their journey, pouring into them, but not taking the time to replenish, re-energize, and restore my own energy and well-being.

And I did that over and over and over again until one day I realized this was not the life that I had dreamed. Sure, I had two beautiful children and the house and the car. But happiness was eluding me and I knew I deserved that too.

I had my first Divine Intervention, discovered life coaching, and blended medicine with being a certified professional coach. I fell in love with the concept that ‘we are not broken so there is nothing to fix’.

My perspective shifted to a new understanding that as doctors we are not here to fix our patients. We are privileged to partner with them on their journey.

And in the process I can H.E.A.L.  Heal? Yes.

The hierarchy, competition, and comparisons in medicine take a toll on the very people who are dedicated to the healing of others.  As a result physicians are stressed out, overwhelmed, and suffer from high rates of burnout. We lose sight of our dreams and aspirations and the very reason we were called to medicine.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With the right support systems and strategies in place you can H.E.A.L. Honor Yourself. Energize Your Day. Awaken Possibilities. Live Confidently. And when you heal, you create a life and medical career that speaks to your soul. You have at your fingertips the strategies to:

  • Connect who you are as a person with who you are as a doctor.
  • Acknowledge your gifts and talents are an essential element to the journey.
  • Recognize the next level of growth and implement the steps to achieve it.
  • Envision life as you design it to be.
  • Set up strategies to support your success.

As important as it is to master the knowledge and skills to be a physician, medicine can make room for you. Success in medicine is not about prioritizing career over life. In fact it’s about blending and partnering the two.

These are the strategies I use and teach other physicians, residents, and medical students who are ready to release the struggle and embrace their vulnerability in order to live a life they love in the changing face of medicine.

My Life Is Graced By:

  • My 2 lovely children
  • Spirituality and Daily practices
  • Connection to Divinely Guided People
  • Teaching, reading, traveling
  • Freedom when I experience the vast the ocean

Featured in:

  • KevinMD.com
  • STAT.com
  • Doximity.com
  • Contributing Author in Miracles and Moments Of Grace anthology

Award:

  • 2017-2018 Henry Barnett Teaching Excellence Award, Jacobi Medical Center Lewis M. Fraad Department of Pediatrics

Are you ready to awaken possibilities? Join Physicians On Purpose Facebook community to get started. It’s the place for like-minded physicians who desire more out of their life and medical career. Connect here.