Burnout in healthcare has reached epidemic proportions on the heals of a global pandemic. Covid has highlighted the weaknesses and faults in our healthcare delivery system, both for the patients and the providers called to take care of them. Buckle up for a journey through the depths of burnout but spoiler alert: Meg healed form her healthcare burnout and is here to share her story with you.
Meg Leddy, practicing PA-C for 17 years, shares her story with burnout as a surgery PA. Meg suffered through severe medical burnout. Now you can find her focusing on healing, speaking on burnout and hosting her own show – Burnout, what I’ve learned so far. Meg’s ultimate goal is to create a shift in the culture of medicine towards one of wellbeing and inclusivity that creates a culture where medical providers can thrive at work.
We are unpacking our experience with healthcare and medicine burnout. How we have healed and recovered from this state of neurological dysregulation, emotional exhaustion and apathy. Meg shares the real, raw, behind the scenes of how her life has changed since walking through and healing from burnout.
Here’s the thing about healthcare burnout… we need to heal ourselves before we can repair the system.
“My children used to flinch when I opened my mouth when I was burned out because they immediately thought I was going to yell.” – Meg Leddy, PA-C
What is Healthcare Burnout?
Burnout is an epidemic in healthcare made more obvious by the pandemic, increased work demands, poor boundaries and lack of established self-care practice for professionals. During this episode we will share the signs and symptoms of burnout, share strategies to prevent burnout, recover from burnout & tactics for implementing procedures and policies to better support healthcare providers.
First of all, burnout is not your fault. It’s a multifactorial combination of your habits and boundaries (or lack thereof) and the healthcare system you exist within. You can LOVE your job, your career, your life… and still be experiencing burnout.
What burnout is not: a bad day, dramatic overreaction, depression, or just an overwhelming week.
Burnout is defined as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of decreased personal accomplishment. By any other name… burnout has been called burnout, but it has also been called low engagement, compassion fatigue, moral distress, and low-safety culture in healthcare.
Healing from healthcare burnout isn’t some cerebral exercise for podcasts and PhD candidates. In order to heal from burnout you get to take an active role in saying “no more” will you live like this, feel like this, work like this, and sacrifice your own health, sanity and relationships at the altar of a healthcare system that isn’t designed to serve you (or patients) well.
Here’s a glance at this episode:
- [01:15] “The Overachiever” Meg shares her story of working in CT surgery, how it affected her lifestyle, her health, relationships and more.
- [04:40] Something has to change. Fractured relationships with her daughter, a big ol’ bathroom cry and the breakthrough that led to healing from her burnout
- [11:06] Dissecting Burnout. Uncovering what society at large, healthcare in general, and our parents, sisters, friends are telling and showing us about gender roles, what we can and should be doing in this life.
- [21:09] Depersonalization in Medicine. In a place where we want to heal and help people, we have to care. When we don’t care we aren’t effective. Yet when we care we burn out & feelings are frowned upon.
- [29:09] Then & Now. Meg describes her life before when she was in the depths of burnout as compared to a day-in-the-life now. Still working as a surgical oncology PA, she sees stress and fights death and dying at work, but has the coping mechanisms she needs now.
- [38:02] Healing relationships. How has your relationship been changed and healed with your husband and girls?
- [42:47] How to support friends, colleagues and loved ones who are walking through burnout.
Click here to listen.
Burnout is Multifactorial
Burnout is the result of specific things we are doing and a system that has set us up. Boundaries are non-existent and self-sacrifice has become normal in the culture of medicine. Yes, we need to change the system and organizations like the AAPA are lobbying to improve things, but just as Meg shares in the episode, we can change the microclimate of our clinic, nursing team and support staff. We can lead by example in healing and bring others along on that journey with us.
Hungry for more on burnout? Here’s one of our most played episodes with Cait Travato, PA-C sharing how she went from burnout to balance.
My hope for your is that, if you are feeling the squeeze of burnout, you take on step towards healing, health and happiness. It can be small. Being burned out is so hard. Healing from healthcare burnout can feel like trying to bail out of a basement flood with a teaspoon. Here’s the thing… keep going, my friend. One step can feel like a mile. You can heal from healthcare burnout.