We decided to go into medicine for many reasons. Your reasons may differ from other peoples’ reasons for going into medicine. These may include intense need to care for other human beings, feeling the call to save lives, a desire to excel in the sciences, pressures from family members to go into a lucrative field, or because as Type A, intelligent, driven individuals we wanted to get into the best profession that we could. Or maybe we wanted to care for drunk people for part of our day (applies to ER). Whatever our motivation, we were determined to succeed!
We were successful during our education and training. During training we were taught to take anything thrown to us and handle it. We didn’t want to be those people who were singled out as “weak.” So we sacrificed our 20s , our families, and our friends for our training. We worked 100+ hours a week. We worked 36+ hours straight without sleep. We took on every responsibility given to us. Now here we are on the other side, successful practitioners of medicine. We can do anything! But can we? Are we not human too? The stressors of caring for patients sometimes now pale in comparison to other pressures, like increased documentation requirements, adherence to metrics, and family life events. Yet we’ve been trained to just absorb the impact and move on. It should come as no surprise, then, that this type of mentality is not sustainable.
Other than quitting or reducing our work hours, do we have any other options? The answer is YES. We can explore these options together.