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From Dr. romie

Brain and Mental Health
Dr. Romie Mushtaq

Mindful Medicine to Transform Physician Burnout

FEELING ALONE IN A VALLEY OF BURNOUT

Twelve years ago, I didn’t know that the symptoms I was suffering had a diagnosis of physician burnout.  As a newly appointed faculty member in neurology at that time, no media headlines or studies were in existence to give my symptoms a name.  Instead, I hoped that no one would find out the shame and struggles I was hiding underneath my starched white lab coat.

How do you know if you or a colleague is suffering from burnout?  I always ask physician groups to look for the following:  a feeling that the lights are on and no one is home.  You may be going through the motions, struggling to keep up, and feeling disconnected from your life emotionally.

I just internalized the symptoms of emotional exhaustion and a low sense of personal accomplishment. I thought my problem was that I was a physician failure. I pushed myself to exceed RVU (relative value unit) expectations in the increasingly profit-driven world of medicine. I could never find the time in my 80- to 100-hour work week to catch up on research, medical records, or tend to my personal health.  

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