3rd Year Burnout

After 10 long months, it’s finally happened: I’ve sustained a stress fracture from over-exercising my enthusiasm and desire to learn.  BOTH ARE NOW BROKEN.

I’m tired of reading Harrison’s, Case Files, Step Up, and Blueprints.  I’m tired of NEJM and JAMA.  I can’t even concentrate hard enough to read magazines. I would like to read The Princess Bride.

I’ve been to every specialty, every clinic, every inpatient rounds, every call night, and I am done caring.  I used to love learning about everything – even my worst specialties, like surgery and OB/GYN – just because they were there! to be learned about! exciting!  – but now I can barely muster enough interest to show up.

The arthritis patients and the COPD patients and the heart failure patients are all starting to blend together into a single hazy mass of chronicity, and I’m beginning to totally understand why some doctors are so brusque and jaded.

This whole “losing my enthusiasm” thing probably makes me sound like Someone Who Will Be A Terrible Doctor. But I’m just being honest.  Probably no one leaves 3rd year with the enthusiasm they had going in.

Don’t get me wrong –  I’m still excited about pediatrics.  I just want to be done with all these other clinics where it feels like I’m just treading water.  I’D LIKE TO START 4TH YEAR RIGHT AWAY PLEASE.

… too bad we still have 10 weeks left.

2 thoughts on “3rd Year Burnout

  1. Finishing third year felt 100% as good as I thought it would for all the reasons you describe. At least you have that to look forward to. I remember being in the OR on a case with an attending who didn’t know me. He offered to let me cut suture. At the beginning of the year, I would have been all excited to do this. Then? I was like: Seriously attending? You expect me to get excited over CUTTING SUTURE?? This is my reward for standing here patiently for 4 hours? No thanks.”

  2. This is how I feel about the volunteering I need to do for my PA school app/resume. Now, don’t get me wrong; I really do enjoy people and giving of my time and I hate to sound like an ungrateful ass, but if I have to spend ONE more shift pulling out the employee health records, taking out ALL the papers in each file folder and placing them “neatly” back inside so that none of the files “stick out”, I’m going to scream…mostly because none of the nurses want to do it themselves! I mean, isn’t there a child whose parent or sibling is receiving care in the ER who needs someone to play with them so mom and dad can focus on what the MD/DO/PA is saying? Any babies in the nursery need holding? Heck, does a family holding vigil for their loved ones in their last moments want me to make a run to Panera for them because they’ve been at the hospital for 24 hours straight?

    Maybe not the same or even close, but sometimes we have to remember that jumping through the hoops, mundane as they may be, get us one step closer to our ultimate goal.

    I LOVE reading your blog! Hang in there – it’ll all be worth it in the end and you’ll be a fantastic pediatrician!

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