As we know, physician burnout is an ever pressing concern. The causes are multifactorial and the solutions are multifaceted, resulting in a very complex problem. Recently, the Charter on Physician Well-being was released to provide a framework for organizations to address physician burnout and wellness initiatives. Although efforts are being made, it's too early to assess any impact. That’s why we may need to embrace “gone fishing” in medicine.
Around 13 years ago, Sara and another female physician approached a local pharmacist entrepreneur in the city we lived in at the time about opening a Family Medicine clinic. He owned a plethora of doctors offices, allowing physicians to pay overhead to him instead of owning their own clinic. This shared practice allowed for more flexibility and ultimately less stress.
Sara and her colleague were upfront about their practice style intentions, with some apprehension knowing that the patient volume wouldn’t be the same as many of the other medical offices he owned. Less volume translated into less overhead paid to him.
In the end, not only was he supportive, but he only expected them to pay overhead on the days the clinic was open. He said that way you can just leave a message at the office saying “gone fishing” when life comes up.
Just think of how liberating it would be if we could say "gone fishing" instead of feeling the guilt of trying to balance our work-life and home-life on a given day.
Need a mental health day? Gone fishing.
Can't take on one more task or meeting? Gone fishing.
Don't have energy to host a family gathering? Gone fishing.
Don't have time to bake for the school bake sale? Gone fishing.
Be kind to yourself. Although we may think we need to come up with an elaborate excuse for the hard work of being human, sometimes we just need to catch a break - or a real fish if you are so inclined.