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Physician Burnout is Physician Abuse


How do you know if you're being abused? See if any of the video testimony here rings true.

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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 so fast? ATTENTION medical students and doctors: It’s NOT your fault. 

Burnout is physical and mental collapse caused by overwork.

So why are we blaming the victims? 

The fact is medical students and physicians are collapsing because they are suffering from acute on chronic abuse. At some medical schools, 100% of students report abuse. (Please scroll down for video.)

And it doesn’t get better. Physicians are overworked and overwhelmed with bureaucratic BS during most of their careers. They are trapped in assembly-line big-box clinics where they are treated like factory workers and berated for not seeing enough patients per day. Some experience human rights abuses in our nation’s hospitals. This doctor worked 7 days in a row with almost no sleep!


Think this is unusual? It’s not.

Physicians all over the nation are suffering mistreatment.

Folks, this is NOT health care.

The health care cycle of abuse starts on day one of medical school. Abused medical students become abused doctors who may one day end up abusing patients. Wait! We wanted to help people, not harm them. 

ATTENTION Medical Students and Doctors:

If any of this sounds familiar,  your diagnosis isn’t burnout, it’s abuse. That’s right. If you’ve suffered mistreatment or harm at work or school, YOU are a victim of abuse. 

How do you know if you’re being mistreated? 1) You don’t get lunch or bathroom breaks. 2) You are forced to work multiple-day shifts. 3) You are not allowed to sleep. 4) You are forced to see unsafe numbers of patients. 5) You can never seem to find “work-life balance.” 6) You are threatened verbally, financially-even physically. 7) You are bullied. 8) And if you ask for help, you’re called a slacker or worse. 

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s NOT YOUR FAULT.


So what should you do?  Sign up for a resiliency training? Meditate? Take deep breaths?  Your goal should NOT be to cope with abuse. Your goal should be to STOP it.

Physician burnout is a diagnosis that blames the victim, not the perpetrator. In fact, the term physician burnout IS physician abuse. It implies that you are to blame, not the system and perpetrators of the mistreatment.

To prevent burnout, health care institutions may offer resiliency classes to train doctors to prioritize self-care and manage their emotions. WARNING: You can not meditate your way out of abuse. You can not take enough deep breaths in a year to end your abuse.

WHAT YOU MUST DO: If you are being abused, YOU MUST LEAVE YOUR ABUSER. I know it’s scary. But you are not alone. Need help with your escape route? Call me! I escaped. You can too.

Want an ideal clinic? Join the Physician Teleseminar & Retreat.

YOU were born to be a healer, not a victim.

Pamela Wible, M.D., founded the Ideal Medical Care Movement. When not treating patients, she devotes her life to helping her colleagues find happiness and joy in their own ideal clinics. Ya know, so patients can finally get the care they deserve!

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