Reflections on Career, Medicine & Teamwork
You cannot work in medicine today without being inundated with burnout statistics and commentary on your feed, coming to your inbox, or spoken from stages about the state of medicine we are in. The data is dire: we are disengaged, we are making mistakes, we are not heard, and we are not empowered to make decisions.
As a woman in medicine, where the odds for pay, promotion and leadership are stacked against me, I feel obligated to light the path for younger women who come behind me. It has taken me a while to be comfortable with my style of leadership, own my own voice, be able to regroup after rejection, and tolerate feeling on display and yet often invisible.
There are moments as an anesthesiologist you can’t erase. No matter how long you go home and sleep, or how many days pass, you won’t forget it. All of these moments involve saying goodbye; while the scenarios change, the message is the same.
Information on burnout resilience & Culture Change
Medicine has changed.
And the joy of medicine has changed with it.
I don’t think our current level of burnout is hopeless, and I sure as heck don’t think we should give up. I am passionate about taking a step back and evaluating how we got here, and what we can change.
If anyone has similar experiences while pulling into your garage, please let me know. I am interested in studying this unknown disease and figuring out ways to combat it. Surely, somewhere, there is someone who pulls in, jumps out of his or her car with total glee, walks in and says “Honey! I’m home!”
For the rest of us, there is hope. It’s called retirement. And graduation. In the meantime, I’ve stashed dark chocolate almonds in the console of my car.
This month my institution lost a vibrant, talented member of our team to suicide.
Most likely, if you are in healthcare, you probably are thinking of a coworker you know who also took his or her own life.
Sadly, it is not uncommon.
I think how we treat our new parent colleagues, especially the first 24 hours back from maternity or paternity leave, speaks volume to the culture we create.
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are completely opposite of our plans. We are overwhelmed. We can’t see hope. We have no idea how our life will work out. We don’t know how we will do it.
One of the most difficult things I must face each day is whether I stop and face the whistle, or decide to drown it out. How I respond to this decision, day in and day out, is what separates growth from decay.
It is not just one doctor or one nurse who delivers your healthcare. We are the nuts and bolts of a well-oiled machine that requires everyone to show up, day in and day out, and do their part.
I am mother to four amazing, unique, vastly different, and loving children. I have no idea what I am doing.
I’m going to talk about something controversial that affects ALL women. If you are a woman, please read.
There is an intersection between professional and personal success. For years I have viewed this crossing as a utopian junction meant only for those who have finally arrived, finally achieved. Not anymore.
Encouragement for the ladies
So the perception of the encouragement is not what matters; what matters is the power that exists when we encourage one another.
When you want to grow a muscle, you have to damage it first. You have to lift something heavy and over extend it. It’s sore for a few days - and then it grows stronger …This is what happened to my heart this week.
Sometimes we let ‘weeds’ - very small but negative distractions, creep up and take a strong hold and become intertwined in our lives. The weeds that are obvious – different color, textures, ugly, we pull immediately when they are small. The weeds that say: I don’t belong here – those are easy to pull.
Having never had an orchid, I was in awe. I would glance at it, its grand curves and beautiful petals, as I rushed through my kitchen. It brightened my days and bolstered my spirits. Day after day, it seemed to be perfect.
Until one day, it wasn’t.
This is one of the most raw posts I've ever written. If you are a parent...read.
We need to embrace our successes, and we need to throw our arms around our own achievements and the achievements of other women!
I know there will be times where you feel frustrated, beaten down and overcome with responsibility. I know it is not easy to be strong men.
I also know you are not mine, you are God’s.
And you are brave enough.
I have learned not to make a list of what I plan to start; I have learned to make a list of what I plan to finish.
Sometimes we do things right hundreds of times. And sometimes, on the thousand time, we screw up. We fail. We catch our toe, nail a shin, and are left with a painful bruise.
Being 100%, authentically you is extremely freeing. It is awesome, brave, and takes courage and strength.
It is also completely exhausting at times.
Fun tips for a better you
I am going to discuss something that is really important for women. It’s going to get a lot of criticism, and it’s ok. I can take it.
My goal is to create a community of #braveenough women who can share, encourage and empower one another. Let’s get to know each other!
Why is it that at a certain age, or when we reach a certain level in our career, or a certain pay scale, it means we as women must stop shining?
Spring is here! You don’t have to go out and drop a ton of money to recreate a fresh new look. Here are my favorite items that make me feel bright and hopeful.
Do you ever feel like you lost a part of yourself?
One day I realized something life changing when I was putting on yoga pants. Bahaha! I know, I know. Go ahead and laugh.