Leadership & Career Development
These days, peer-reviewed literature and social media alike bombard us with dismal news of a physician burnout epidemic. Outside forces are blamed — a medical system imposed on us so that we become victims of malignant forces beyond our control. Far too often, driven physicians are advised to follow superficial, inadequate, unrealistic, or even out-of-character suggestions to achieve an elusive state called “wellness”.
Instead of helplessly externalizing blame, it is time to recognize that the enemy lies within. We have confronted neither the personality dynamics that drive this worrisome epidemic nor the unpleasant reality that we have created the very system that oppresses us.
Dr. Bostwick, Dean of Admissions at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, will discuss the near impossible standards required of successful applicants – more specifically, how the admissions process selects for candidates with demonstrated inborn and socially reinforced obsessive-compulsive personality traits. He will present his theory that throughout medical school and residency, these traits are reinforced and become even more entrenched. A dedication and drive that would be pathological in the outside (non-physician) world is the norm within medicine. The expectations of our patients and ourselves demand it. Medical culture is as dis-eased as we are, but the system’s pathology goes unrecognized and unnamed because it is ego-systonic with our own.
Failing to recognize the internal and external drivers fueling physician burnout insures that solutions will remain forever elusive. Yet not to do so jeopardizes both realistic self-knowledge and genuine solutions. This workshop will invite participants to challenge the status quo, both within and without.
Dr. Worley, Regional Dean of the UAMS College of Medicine and faculty of the Vanderbilt Center for Professional Health Distressed Physicians’ Course will connect the drivers for burnout to a nautical metaphor to challenge us to implement change. Superficial fixes cannot substitute for fearless self-exploration. In truth, multifaceted, personalized answers will emerge from deeply within and when implemented, bring about meaningful change, replenishment and rejuvenation.
SCHEDULE: In the first 30 minutes of the workshop, Dr. Bostwick will offer a presentation entitled, “Weak at the Strong Points”, to support his contention that the dedication we bring to our work is simultaneously a source of our vulnerability. Next, Dr. Worley will share a presentation called, “Smooth Sailing Life for Physicians: Navigating the Seas we find ourselves in”, to encompass the multitude of etiologies driving this epidemic today.
The final 30 minutes will be an interactive workshop with time for introspection, small group discussion and a larger group summative wrap-up identifying definitive next steps for our field and our lives.