Here’s the latest medical fad: Physician resiliency training.
Doctors are already the most resilient people on the planet.
Doctors can go days on call without eating. I know. I have.
Doctors can go 24 hours without a bathroom break. (Yes, we even have the most resilient bladders!)
Doctors can work 168-hour shifts with little or no sleep as detailed in this whistleblower video.
Doctors can tell parents their child died in a car wreck and then immediately run a code in the next room — without shedding a tear.
Doctors can each amass up to $500,000 student loan debt for the honor or caring for other people’s families while delaying or giving up their own childbearing, their own family, their own life — and all the while being funneled directly from residency into assembly-line medical clinics where they are abused. Yes. Abused. For their entire careers!
By the way, none of the above leads to “work-life balance.”
Resilient means flexible, strong, sturdy, tough, and quick to recover. That’s the definition of a doctor!
We’re already so tough, sturdy, and strong we spend our careers as the human equivalent of a punching bag. Doubt me?
According to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Article 24: Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
In my training, I assisted major surgeries with a full bladder, backed-up bowel, and a blood sugar of 24. My colleagues have worked hypoglycemic and sleep-deprived to the point of hallucinating and having seizures. There is absolutely no organization that protects doctors who are routinely abused, mistreated, harassed, hazed, and humiliated.
Many of us have considered suicide, but we are so resilient that we smile and head back into the next room to see the next patient.
Please. Don’t train us to be more resilient. Train us to be more resistant to abuse.
Hey doc, listen up. Have you been mistreated, injured, harmed, or damaged during medical school, residency, or by a health care employer?
Attention: Resiliency training will not help you. No amount of deep breathing will help you. No special yoga workshop for burned out doctors will be your salvation. You will never, ever, ever regain “work-life balance” while you continue to allow yourself to terrorized with fear tactics and trapped in an assembly-line clinic you hate.
Congratulations! You are already highly resilient.
Pamela Wible pioneered the community-designed ideal medical clinic and blogs atIdeal Medical Care. She is the author of Pet Goats and Pap Smears. Watch her TEDx talk, How to Get Naked with Your Doctor. She hosts the physician retreat, Live Your Dream, to help her colleagues heal from grief and reclaim their lives and careers.