Family Medicine Physicians Speak Out on Burnout and Resilience

Fighting the Need to Control Everything

Russell S. Breish, MD, FAAFP

Disclosures

September 06, 2017

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

When I think about physician culture and how it relates to burnout, I think of the fact that we like to control stuff. We did that to get through school, and we have done that a lot in our lives. For many of us, particularly those who are employed, we give up a lot of control to do our work. That can be very frustrating; it's something you can almost rage against.

If you are able to give up control of the things that you do not think are that critical to the mission of taking care of your patients, then do so.

If you think about the things that are important, like taking care of patients, and leave the control of things like personnel and nurse pay to other folks, it really helps. If you need to be the person who is going to figure out what the nurse gets paid [and participate in] hiring and firing, then you should not be an employed doc. If you are able to give up control of the things that you do not think are that critical to the mission of taking care of your patients, then do so.

Keep taking care of patients and maintain autonomy in the exam room when you are taking care of people. That is what gets you through. That is how I've been able to use the culture I have that makes me need to control stuff, control the things that I can, and not worry about the things that I can't.

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