I realized Thursday that I was not taking care of myself very well. It is a long story but I found myself closing the door of my office and crying out of anger and frustration. I can take a lot of anger and frustration before I break down so this was alarming. I decided that I needed to play hookie from the clinic for a few days to take care of me.
In the process of that, I read this:
Medscape Physician Lifestyles Report for 2015 (It is in slide-show format and also talks about physician usage of weed if you were curious.)
Physician feelings of burn out were 50% for family medicine in the US. Family medicine is my specialty. We were third over all specialties. Only critical care and emergency medicine scored higher at 53% and 52% respectively.
Causes of physician burn out? The top five were: too many bureaucratic tasks, too many hours at work, income not high enough (before you roll your eyes thinking we are all spoiled brats, remember physicians are making less and less every year and that combined with the other issues listed here magnifies the sense of loss, right or wrong), increasing computerization (which would be fine if someone would just make an affordable, user friendly electronic health record for crying out loud), impact of the Affordable Care Act (I need to do a post on that specifically as I am starting to see the issues more here now that it has been in place for a bit).
Overall, 43% of men and 51% of women were burned out. I thought that was an interesting statistic.
I was sitting on the tenth floor of the big system hospital reading that report yesterday. Where did I flee on my day off? To the hospital because it has wifi and it is not my house. I had my work computer open in front of me, logged into my EHR (electronic health record) flipping back and forth from it to the director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven I had playing into my earbuds. I sat there for eight hours. It was blissful.
I have issues.
This morning I am a basket case again and I cannot figure out if it is the extra cup of French press coffee I had this AM or something else more sinister coming back….
I have a fear of being sued that hangs over my head like a dark cloud that could break open, pouring forth at any moment. It is remarkable that I have made it to this point in my career without facing that as a reality but it feels closer and closer every year that I am in practice. Flirting with the odds. (Bear with me as I superstitiously knock on wood. It is a thing I do whenever I talk about this sort of thing. It helps ward off the bad juju.)
I fear corporate medicine and the changes it has wrought.
I have significant anxiety about my professional reputation.
I worry about my patients constantly.
I worry about my kids just as much.
I am anxious the whole time I am away from the office that when I get back to the office I will have to put out tons of fires. That is not an irrational fear. It usually happens.
But I don’t bring this up so you will pity me. We all have stresses. We all have fears and anxieties. I have a pretty dang good life when all is said and done. I just want people to understand that I am human, not super woman. Not even hardly. I may seem like I have everything together. I don’t.
Blogging keeps me sane. Truthfully, I probably get more from you all than you get from me in the end….