Remedy for Burnout: 7 Prescriptions Doctors Use to Find Meaning in Medicine by ocular surgeon, Dr. Starla Fitch, is a quick read with helpful and heartfelt advice. This book is written primarily for physicians, but as an advocate for collaborative work and humanizing healthcare (i.e. medicine, nursing, etc) I loved it! Here’s why:
First, it is personal. We get to know Starla aka Dr. Fitch a little bit as a human being. Why she decided to become a physician, her father’s response, her own suffering with burnout, and a very harrowing experience driving home during a nasty winter storm that called upon her to use her own prescriptions are memorable examples. There is a nice video of her on her website.
Second, the reason she’s writing the book is compelling. She wants to help docs love medicine again. It is a tough environment for many healthcare professionals to practice in and we should be connected with the joy and privileges of our work. Not only that, but if physicians are happier and healthier, I suspect they will be more enjoyable to work with and for.
Third, her prescriptions are grounded in evidence-based research about physician burnout yet also speak to a higher dimension of spiritual practice. Both are important for long-term meaningful and positive change for individual and organizational behaviors. And we need physicians to speak to this, like the author and Rachel Naomi Remen, Lissa Rankin, and Bernie Siegel all of whom have contributions to this book.
Lastly, her writing is great! You can savor it over time, read it in an afternoon, or if you are really pressed for time, scan the Rx in a few treasured minutes.
I tended to substitute healthcare professionals or add nurses in my head at times because despite our differences, I think we can talk about burnout together and much of her advice is useful to nurses. In fact, docs and nurses have tremendous potential power to impact healthcare and I believe this power can be realized if we can invite, listen to, and learn about each other’s experiences. With that in mind, thanks, Starla for letting me review your wonderful book!