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  • COVID-19 Burnout

    I am a pulmonary and critical care physician. During the first surge I got burned out hard. Lost my compassion/empathy and was likely depressed. I was sad. My burnout got better as COVID lulled and I regained my passion for medicine and patient care.

    Well this surge has brought all of that negative energy right back into my life, except this time I am not sad, I am angry. I am angry at the people who have refused to get vaccinated. I am trying not to let my emotions effect my patient care, but I have so little empathy for the unvaccinated patients under my care. It is truly a struggle for me to remain objective.

    Am I a bad doctor? Am I alone in these feelings?

  • #2
    You must be in Florida

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Craigslist View Post
      You must be in Florida
      Indiana, lol. Not as bad as Florida, but not much better.

      Comment


      • #4
        You are not alone. Physician coaching might really help you.

        https://www.jessiemahoneymd.com

        If you want a recommendation for someone who specializes in males let me know. Jessie is a retired physician (pediatrics) who has done additional training with the Life Coach School. She’s legit.

        Comment


        • #5
          You are a good doctor. You are being subject to war-like conditions. Your response is human. The job that is required of you is superhuman, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am no longer on the field of battle, but I am 100% certain that you are not alone, and many of your colleagues have the same anger and frustration with the unvaccinated. There are countless threads on Twitter on this topic if you need affirmation.

          I am not a coach or therapist, but if I were, I might suggest that you keep an emotional distance, as best you can, and while you might have little sympathy for some of those you are treating, to their children or their parents, they are likely very important. The children, in particular, have done nothing wrong to deserve losing a parent. The children have done nothing wrong to deserve not living. Even the unvaccinated, as unworthy as they seem, are themselves the victims of disinformation and misinformation from their trusted leaders and sources of "news".

          I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for you and your colleagues on the frontline for what you are doing, and I expect that the rest of the docs who are not pulmonary/critical care feel the same. I would say that this deep into it, I would not fault you for bringing your "B-game" to work. Save the "A-game" for your family and for yourself. Your "B-game" is good enough.

          Comment


          • #6
            I don't think you are alone , I think a lot of physicians deal with these feelings in different ways. But , honestly this is not the place to look for help. If you cant practice effectively or have other personal issues you should take some time off and seek in professional help.

            Comment


            • #7
              Your medical staff office should have some resources for wellness and counseling that may be of use to you.

              I completely understand the lack of empathy for some patients, just make sure it isn't affecting the care you give them.

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              • #8
                Honestly, I can understand the lack of empathy. You can try to improve that, but I doubt it’s going to happen by talking about COVID and the vaccine (by the time they’re in the hospital, what’s the point of that, anyway?). However, I can imagine that some of these patients are going to be hard to connect with at any personal level. If the patient population is what’s driving the anger, that might be easier to work on, possibly with therapy. You don’t have to be a pillar of empathy to be a great pulm/CC doc. If you struggle to empathize with some of these people, let it go and just do your job (and consider doing less of it). It’s most likely them and not you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Def not alone. I got real depressed after last winter. Currently im dreading this upcoming winter. IDK if i can handle it honestly. Luckily im in a "vaccinated" state but no, not alone.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Random1 View Post
                    I don't think you are alone , I think a lot of physicians deal with these feelings in different ways. But , honestly this is not the place to look for help. If you cant practice effectively or have other personal issues you should take some time off and seek in professional help.
                    Agree there is nothing wrong with taking time off to see professional help.

                    This forum is an appropriate place to ask for recommendations and solidarity.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by VagabondMD View Post
                      You are a good doctor. You are being subject to war-like conditions. Your response is human. The job that is required of you is superhuman, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I am no longer on the field of battle, but I am 100% certain that you are not alone, and many of your colleagues have the same anger and frustration with the unvaccinated. There are countless threads on Twitter on this topic if you need affirmation.

                      I am not a coach or therapist, but if I were, I might suggest that you keep an emotional distance, as best you can, and while you might have little sympathy for some of those you are treating, to their children or their parents, they are likely very important. The children, in particular, have done nothing wrong to deserve losing a parent. The children have done nothing wrong to deserve not living. Even the unvaccinated, as unworthy as they seem, are themselves the victims of disinformation and misinformation from their trusted leaders and sources of "news".

                      I have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for you and your colleagues on the frontline for what you are doing, and I expect that the rest of the docs who are not pulmonary/critical care feel the same. I would say that this deep into it, I would not fault you for bringing your "B-game" to work. Save the "A-game" for your family and for yourself. Your "B-game" is good enough.
                      thank you for the reminder

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've been on the same emotional roller coaster as you have. Not saying this is the first step, but a trial of an anti-depressant may help you. Make that doctor's appointment, and go see or talk to your PCP. Can also always come here to blow off some steam!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RJB View Post
                          I am a pulmonary and critical care physician. During the first surge I got burned out hard. Lost my compassion/empathy and was likely depressed. I was sad. My burnout got better as COVID lulled and I regained my passion for medicine and patient care.

                          Well this surge has brought all of that negative energy right back into my life, except this time I am not sad, I am angry. I am angry at the people who have refused to get vaccinated. I am trying not to let my emotions effect my patient care, but I have so little empathy for the unvaccinated patients under my care. It is truly a struggle for me to remain objective.

                          Am I a bad doctor? Am I alone in these feelings?
                          No you're not, you're just a regular person. These are reasonable justified feelings and make total sense. You dont need a ton of empathy do mindlessly do whats right.

                          Just do what you need to to get through the surge. It will end, one way or another.

                          I didnt see VagabondMD s post first, but basically I just wish I had wrote that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FunkDoc83 View Post
                            I've been on the same emotional roller coaster as you have. Not saying this is the first step, but a trial of an anti-depressant may help you. Make that doctor's appointment, and go see or talk to your PCP. Can also always come here to blow off some steam!
                            I already have an appointment.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm sorry you're having to deal with the mental strain of all of this. I have lost a lot of empathy over the years for a lot of patients that by actions of their own have destroyed their life or the lives of those around them. Countless drunk drivers killing or severely injuring innocent drivers. All the fall out from all the chronic alcoholics over the years. Smokers. Obesity. It goes on and on. Thats medicine. We do much more work to try to fix stuff that people do to themselves than we do to cure the innocent, at least that's what it often feels like. I do hope your able to get to a better mental state soon.

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