Archive May 2017 XVIII, No. 5

Ideas That Work: Burnout Binder Highlights What Matters Most

Dr. Barnes's binder HAPPY REMINDERS Dr. Barnes's binder includes the best career advice she received and space to add her own success stories.

Burnout Binder Highlights What Matters Most

A career in health care can be taxing, and that's why you need to always remind yourself of why you answered its calling. I'm graduating from medical school this month and after an experienced physician screamed at me over the phone about the best way to treat her hospitalized patient, I thought: What if I end up like her? That's when I decided to interview doctors about how they avoid feeling burned out or disillusioned. A neurologist gave me the best advice. He said trying to maintain a work-life balance in health care is often unrealistic, so he created a binder that's filled with notes on patient successes and thank-you letters from families. He said flipping through the pages reminds him to be proud of the career he chose, the work he's doing and the difference he's making in patients' lives. That's why I created my own Burnout Binder. I wrote down the best advice doctors gave me on the inside cover and will continually add my own career's success stories. I'll refer to them often, especially at the end of those long and difficult days that are sure to come.

Erin Barnes, MD
Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University
Philadelphia, Pa.

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