Throughout my life, I have never liked change. I was born and lived in the same house until I went to college. I went to UNC for undergrad and stayed for medical school, residency, and chief residency. Then I made a great leap and joined a practice in the town next door!
As I started my career in the early 2000s, I was dictating and handwriting charts as I saw patients. I spent several years building my practice and looking for that comfortable sweet spot.
Then came the changes many of us have gone through: EMR > joining a health system> administrative role without training > new EMR.
Four years ago, I realized something had to change.
I found myself a mid-career physician at a crossroads.
- Was I bored? Not really- I was too busy to be bored and too busy to really think about doing something different.
- Was I at the point of being burned out? Yes-to a moderate degree.
- Was I not challenged?- Come on- most internal medicine patients are pretty challenging.
- Were there other things I wanted to learn about for learning sake or that might improve my skills in my physician practice? Yes.
So, I changed the way I practiced. I cut back my practice time and set boundaries. I passed along the administrative roles.
I changed. I got curious. I did a lot of personal development. I changed my mindset to a growth mindset. I decided that I could make choices, and I had options.
I decided to pursue health and wellness coaching as another way, in addition to working as a doctor, to help people. I did more training in leadership. I learned to start with the why and ask what and how, to break my identity box, and to be vulnerable and brave. I learned that I was not the only one in this situation.
I learned from new mentors who had gone through similar times that talking about these experiences can be one of the best ways to address that feeling of burnout. Remember, you too have options.
I am telling you all about my journey in hopes it will benefit you too. I am proudly serving as a wellness champion to my state’s ACP chapter. I am taking a short sabbatical from a clinical role but will soon be restarting my practice.
I am now excited for the change.
Marion McCrary, MD
Dr. McCrary is a guest writer for InCrowd. To learn more about her, please visit Marion McCrary Wellness.