The culture of medicine today has led to the erosion of career satisfaction among physicians. Dissatisfaction comes from the gamut of physicians, young and old, male and female, family practitioners to cardiologists. In fact, burnout is more common among physicians than other workers throughout the country, but is career satisfaction something a physician recruiter can help with? Absolutely.
In an earlier article, physician on-the-job unhappiness: how physician recruiters can help, we wrote that physician burnout stems from multiple interrelated causes: excessive workload; loss of autonomy; administrative burdens and consequent inefficiencies; difficulties integrating personal and professional life; and more. Salary is primary discussion about job satisfaction, too, but salary is the tip of the iceberg. Kevin Pho, MD, says career satisfaction isn’t even about being liked, or being respected. The key to satisfaction is the “v” word – being valued. Interestingly enough, Dr. Pho is the leading physician voice in social media today, blogging at KevinMD.
Physicians don’t live by medicine alone. They have interests, passions, and pastimes outside of medicine that are engaging and satisfying – things that differ from their daily grind. Many write, and many who don’t write often ask us and physician recruiters about writing. Specifically, blogging.
John Mandrola, MD, who blogs at Dr. John M, wrote an article Six Reasons Why (I) Doctors Blog. Among his reasons: to educate, to better mankind, to give a look behind the curtain, to achieve useful information, and to display our humanness. A cardiologist, Dr. John M says, “I like to write about the paradox of being a heart doctor: Here we are every day using skills and technology to save people from a disease that could be prevented with simple lifestyle changes. As a cyclist, I have learned that success depends on making choices. It’s the same for being healthy. (Of course, both cycling and health also depend a bit on luck.)”
So could blogging be an uncommon cure for physician burnout? Bryan Vartabedian, MD, thinks so. A pediatrician at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital and one of healthcare’s influential voices on technology and medicine, Dr. Vartabedian’s blog – 33 charts – is “a sandbox for his evolving ideas.” He is passionate about communication and believes it’s a critical part of how the world works today. He writes, “On some level, writing and making media should be seen as part of what we do as citizens of the Information Age. Not only is it how we’re understood, it’s how we’ll help others understand. Doctor means teacher.”
Anton Chekov, who may have crafted the first career as a physician-writer back in the 19th century and is arguably one of the most famous physician-writers, once wrote, “Medicine is my lawful wife and literature my mistress.” On the subject of writing, he also wrote: "To advise is not to compel." So if physician candidates are asking you about writing, consider pointing them to a blog. A great place to start is KevinMD, a platform for a lot of physician writers. Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, writes a blog called Seattle Mama Doc worth reviewing. There’s also a nice round-up of 59 top physician blogs worth reading worth sharing with candidates, too. Dr. Vartabedian also wrote this article your physician candidates might find helpful: 7 Reasons Every Doctor Should Write. Doximity’s blog also hosts many physician-written pieces (if your physician is interested in writing a blog, they can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org).
If it seems a little out of the realm of a physician recruiter to talk about writing with your candidates, let us remind you of something recruiting guru Lou Adler tells recruiters frequently: “You’re managing their life!” – career satisfaction included.