Burned out? Just say no and teach others to as well

Without question, the interconnectivity created by social media is a plus when it comes to talking about physician burnout, suicide and policies affecting our practice of medicine. We are no longer in independent silos with the surgeons suffering in one corner and pediatricians elsewhere. Physicians are no longer isolated contemplating if what they are experiencing is just unique to them. We are developing collective voices. It is incredible to believe a profession that requires some of the top academic performers and minds of any field is struggling with basic concepts of control, equity and justice in the workplace — but we are.

As we have advanced the discourse externally about the collective pressures we face, we are simultaneously paving a path for students and residents who enter the workforce that will hopefully look different than the highly regulated and micromanaged medical world we currently practice in. But collective work is not enough. As individual attendings and seasoned physicians, we must mirror balance in our professional lives. To defend against burnout and physician abuse, we must teach our new physicians the art of saying no. Helping our new residency graduates and medical students recognize these abusive work environments, prioritize their happiness and values so that they can avoid pitfalls is essential. In order to do so, we must recognize the role we as attending’ play in perpetuating physician abuse and burnout. We are part of the problem.

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