burnout Please stop using the word burnout. You are not burned out. You’ve been abused. Let’s get the diagnosis right. We enter medicine as inspired, intelligent, compassionate humanitarians. Soon we’re cynical and exhausted. How did all these totally amazing and high-functioning people get so f'd up so fast? Attention medical students and doctors: It’s not your fault. Burnout is physical and mental collapse caused by overwork. So why ...

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TEDMED-WIBLE-PHOTO-shrink Christine Sinsky, MD, from the American Medical Association interviews Pamela Wible, MD, after her TEDMED talk. Watch periscope video here. Fully transcribed below: Dr. Sinsky: This afternoon we’re here in Palm Springs, and I’m delighted to be here with Dr. Pamela Wible, who gave a terrific TED talk last night. I’m Dr. Christine Sinsky, the vice president of professional satisfaction at the ...

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How do we care for the people who care for us? As doctors, we’re immersed in pain and suffering -- as a career. We cry when our patients die. We feel grief anxiety, depression -- even suicidal -- all occupational hazards of our profession. A recent Medscape article on physician health programs suggests the people who are here to help us may actually be doing more harm than good. ...

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Burnout-640x400 Physician burnout is the latest trend among doctors. There are books, workshops, even special breathing exercises for physician burnout. Suddenly every other doctor I meet has burnout. And half of all med students have burnout before they graduate. WTF. We enter medicine as inspired, intelligent, compassionate humanitarians. Soon we’re cynical and exhausted. How did all these amazing people get so screwed up ...

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How-to-be-a-happy-doctor-640x424 I was a physician employee, many times for many hospitals and clinics. I’d stay a year or two, but eventually I’d quit. Then, in 2005, I opened an ideal clinic designed by my patients. Ten years later, I still love private practice. Why? I’m finally practicing medicine the way I had always imagined. When I decided to open a private practice, I was ...

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Kevin-Dietl-crop-2 Medical school graduation: Time to celebrate our brand new doctors! Except for the families who can’t celebrate their child’s graduation. Or their child’s marriage. Or their child’s birthday -- ever again. Like Michele and John Dietl. They lost their son, Kevin (pictured above), just weeks before graduation. Now they cling to online condolences and family photos. And to the never-ending question: Why? I’ve become a sideline specialist ...

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Money-640x480 I’m a physician entrepreneur. In 1998, I opened my first clinic. My malpractice: $500 per year. Then I tried life as an employed physician. Hated it. So in 2005, I opened my ideal clinic. Best. Job. Ever. My malpractice: $1,230 per year. Want low premiums? Here’s how I did it. A quick tutorial. New malpractice policies mature over five years. So the first ...

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Doctors4th-640x480 It’s July 4th! All across the country, Americans are celebrating freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Families and friends are relishing potato salad, apple pie, barbecues and parades. Is your doctor decked out in red, white, and blue enjoying fireworks from his yacht? Probably not. Have you seen any medical students waving little flags? Unlikely. The truth is American medicine has little to ...

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Pamela-Wible-Keynote-Speaker--640x480 I recently delivered a keynote in St. Louis to 600 health care leaders from a health system with 20 hospitals, 600 clinics, and 30,000 employees. They told me not to be afraid of the 12-foot-tall version of myself following me around stage. No problem. I’m one of the few people who has never been frightened by public speaking. The larger the audience ...

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DoctorsThankPatients-640x480 I’m a family physician in Eugene, Oregon -- a sweet town where folks are pretty darn friendly.  I still do house calls. Patients often surprise me with gifts. And nearly every appointment ends in a hug. Kindness is contagious. I like to return the favor. So every few weeks I celebrate “patient appreciation day.” I thank patients with balloons and chocolates. Why? For ...

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NoPRT-640x480 Here’s the latest medical fad: Physician resiliency training. Huh? 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 ...

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Fire-Doctor-640x399 Not all relationships work out. My prescription: If a relationship isn’t working, end it. Now. Recently an insurance plan told me they were sending a nurse to my office for a chart review that would take 3 hours. After 24 years of education, state licensure, board certification, and over 50 hours of continuing medical education each year, I’m not trusted to provide Pap ...

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Dead-Doctor-640x400 An investigation is underway after a Chicago-area doctor is found dead -- a suicide according to the medical examiner. What demands investigation is the callousness with which the this doctor’s death was reported by the media -- and received by neighbors, many health care professionals themselves. I’m alerted to the death initially by a Facebook friend: “Pamela, check this out!” Headline:
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The following is Dr. Pamela Wible's testimony in support of medical student mental health to the Missouri State Legislature for House Bill 867. I’m Dr. Pamela Wible, a family physician in Oregon. I’ve submitted my CV, witness form, and transcript of my testimony to Chairman Frederick. My schedule prevents me from traveling to Missouri for today’s hearing; however, I thank Vice Chairman Morris and the Committee for allowing me to ...

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March30-copy-640x480 I’m in a room full of doctors at my mom’s 50th medical school reunion when I announce, “It’s almost March 30th!” I pause. “Doesn’t anyone know what March 30th is?” Nobody has a clue. March 30th is National Doctors’ Day! Who knew? I never heard of it -- until a friend told me last week. Veterans know about Veterans Day. Mothers know about ...

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CryingDoctor-640x480 Outside of a Southern California hospital, an ER doctor is crouched down against a concrete wall grieving the loss of his 19-year-old patient. A paramedic snaps a photo of the tender scene. His coworker, a close friend of the doctor, posts the photo (with permission) online. Minutes after the photograph, the doctor returns to work “holding his head high.” Thousands of people have ...

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GVE8468-640x424 Standing on the edge of his hotel balcony, a doctor describes the rolling hills. He tells me, “It’s a beautiful place to die.” Ten minutes later, he agrees not to injure himself -- for now. I’m not running a physician suicide hotline. But doctors keep calling me. It’s midnight, and I’m speaking to a psychiatry intern. Bullied by residents and her attending, she ...

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Abuse-Schedule-476x640 A physician in Texas posts this photo on Facebook. Caption: “My schedule one morning in January 2014. Never again ...” Yay! Another physician breaks free from assembly-line medicine. High-overhead, high-volume offices sacrifice the sacred physicians-patient relationship and perpetuate a disease-billing management system. This is not health care. It’s abuse. Patients: Avoid clinics with 10-minute slots. Go for docs who offer 30 to 60-minute appointments. Physicians: ...

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pamela wible Ever wonder what patients really want from doctors? Is it the fancy buildings with marble fountains? Is it the board certifications and diplomas on the wall? Is it the expert medical jargon and starched white coats? Nope. None of the above. Listen up, docs: Patients just want the real you. Ya know -- you. The competent and caring you who really listens with compassion. The real you ...

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7-steps-to-get-what-you-need-from-your-doctor-640x423 Sick of phone trees, endless refill requests, packed waiting rooms, out-of-control bills, and other medical misadventures? Follow these seven simple steps to get your doctor to do what you want. 1. Get organized. Be clear about what you need from your appointment. Make a comprehensive list of all the issues you want to discuss -- and your ideal outcomes for each. Patients who are ...

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