In the field of healthcare, burnout is often considered a rite of passage. It is worn like a badge of honor; physicians and nurses alike talk about how hard they had it in the “good old days”, how much they sacrificed and how good the current generation has it.

In the past decade, I have met die hard worker bees in the workplace specifically in healthcare who tout their 20 years of experience while proudly maintaining the same position. When I became a nurse 10 years ago, I was surprised by how many “seasoned nurses” were proudly paraded as old faithful employees. I wondered what could convince anyone to work for 20 years in a company they did not own without a substantial promotion. As they ranted on and on about their years of slavery… I mean servanthood… oh sorry, I really meant service, one question came to mind; “why would anyone sign up for this?” As far as I am concerned working for 20 years in virtually the same position either meant you did not grow for almost 18 years or you were under appreciated for that same amount of time. Either way you’ve got to go.

As suicide rates among healthcare workers specifically physicians continue to rise, the issue of burnout will have to be addressed more frequently and head on. Wellness for healthcare workers is not just a good idea, it is a must! As we spend our days taking care of patients and making career choices over the years be mindful of one thing; BURNOUT is not a rite of passage, it is a CHOICE!


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