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IU Medical Students Lead Workshop To Prevent Looming Unhappiness As Doctors

Barbara Lewis

After the overwhelming amount of pessimism and unhappiness among doctors was revealed in the 2012 Physician’s Foundation’s “Survey of American Physicians,” 13 Indiana University medical students organized a workshop to address the issue and look for solutions. Over 100 medical students attended. The daylong workshop “Finding Inspiration and Resilience in Medicine” was held April 25 at Eskanazi Hospital.

According to the study of 13,575 physician participants

  • 60 percent would retire today if they could afford it
  • 77.4 percent were somewhat or very pessimistic about the future of medicine
  • 58.3 percent rate morale as somewhat or very negative

Credit Barbara Lewis
Over more than 100 medical students attended the daylong conference for insight on how to preserve their passion for medicine.

Dr. Lotte Dyrbye -- keynote speaker; professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic

“When we think about burnout in doctors, we think about things such as work hours and loss of autonomy, loss of meaning, work home conflict. Those are all big drivers of burnout. Physicians work many more hours than anybody else in other professions and that's a big driver. Then there’s all those factors of medicine. You’re dealing with death and dying; you’re dealing with very complicated government regulations and paperwork; and just the business of medicine itself has become increasingly complex. You get a lot of meaning as a doctor when you’re in a room seeing a patient, you’re helping them out, you’re talking to their family members. We don’t get a lot of meaning out of interacting with the EMR, the insurance companies or filling out authorizations forms for crutches.”

Credit Barbara Lewis
IU medical student says he fears for those who lack faith in the future of the medical profession.

Chris Sinsabaugh -- IU medical student; radiology; formerly served in Marine Corps

"I've literally had to dig ditches just to avoid being shot at, at one point. So today, when I come in on the worst day that I can have in health care as an almost physician, it's better than the best day would have been when you're looking down the barrel of a gun. I love what I'm doing today and wouldn't do anything else. I'm afraid for the people that feel otherwise.... There was this previous study they had done that looked at how physicians interact with one another. At that time, 60 to 70 percent of physicians though that the best part of their day was getting to interact with their colleagues. That number dropped to somewhere around 30 or 40 percent. I think it's very telling that the attitudes we bring with us to work change the way that it is that we interact with other people at work."

Credit Barbara Lewis
IU medical student and OBGYN resident says she would be honored if her daughter went into medicine as she did.

Hannah Brooks -- IU medical student; resident OBGYN

“The statistic that I found most alarming was that more than half of the physicians would not recommend that their own children go into medicine. To me, that was staggering because I would be honored if my daughter went into medicine. I love it so much. And to think that in 20 years, I wouldn’t have that joy and I wouldn’t feel that same way was really surprising to me.”