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Okay Yea, I’m Burnt Out

Joining The Ranks Of Burnt Out Doctors

I’ll stop being in denial about it, I’m burnt out. I didn’t recognize it at first, expecting that it would be a much more in-your-face feeling. Picturing a burnt out doc in my mind was someone who wanted nothing to do with medicine, getting into arguments with patients or being on the brink of getting fired.

It sort of crept up on me. I was able to push off the feelings a little by moving jobs from San Diego over to Portland. But within a few months I had the same feelings again. Mostly feeling like wading through mud despite the work being super easy.

I’m reminded of all this today as I sit here with my heart pounding in my throat, getting sweats and chills non-stop. You wouldn’t be able to tell talking to me though – nothing has transpired that would justify feeling this way. My nurse and I have been working together since 1pm and it’s 4pm now, we’ve chatted and laughed and so far today I’ve had the nicest patients.

The problem is perhaps that I’m too efficient at suppressing my emotions. Even though on the inside I’m choking I try to put on a good face because I don’t see why my patients or colleagues need to suffer.

My friend is right though, even if I think I’m putting on a strong face I’m still doing a disservice to my patients, they deserve care from someone who is 100% present and invested. Feeling anxious in the room makes me just want to leave the setting as soon as I can.

So what am I gonna do, just call up my boss and tell him “Hey thanks for getting me the new 50% schedule but fuck it I wanna quit now!”. I know, I’m being difficult but I was trying to play this out in my head and there are quite a few obstacles to overcome.

I feel like I’m letting down my colleagues, filling in a hole for an absent provider is not easy in our urgent care department.

My boss happens to be someone I really get along with, who has been supportive and whom I enjoy hanging out with outside of work. I can’t help but feel a little inadequate telling him that I can’t cut it – especially because he makes the work look so easy.

Quitting means… quitting. That thought alone makes me cringe. It’s one thing to leave when you just don’t care for the job anymore without much stress or drama. But I’m sort of falling apart here, leaving during this time is a bit of a vulnerable feeling.

Financially I’d have to dip into my savings. I thankfully have enough and my partner has even said she would support me which is incredible of her. Having her support me… that’s not easy for me, it’s my fragile ego kicking in.

Have I made enough excuses? Now, let me be my own support here. If a good friend came to me feeling this way, the anxiety, panic and the emotional disconnect from their work I would advise him to just quit and get away for a while. I would suggest quitting because I know he has already tried salvaging the job as much as possible. Getting away, traveling, would be good because I cannot think of a more efficient way to gain perspective than to travel and see how others are living their life.

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