RechargedMD is privileged to work with a group of amazing professionals on our team. This month, we would like to feature Dr. Jattu Sensesie.
Dr. Senesie is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist. She retired from clinical practice in 2010 in an attempt to find a balance between maintaining her own sense of well-being and living a life of service. Since leaving clinical medicine, she has become a certified success coach to help her fellow healthcare professionals fulfill their potential inside and outside the clinical setting. In her blog post Making the Mindset Shift she discusses how new attending physicians can determine and honor their personal priorities amidst these stressful times.
Making the Mindset Shift
By Dr. Jattu Senesie
As we head into year two of the COVID pandemic overshadowing life in the USA, I have a lot of concern about new attending physicians. Even in an ideal world, maintaining joy in life as a practicing clinician requires much more intention than we are led to believe while in training.
Now that veteran physicians are exhausted and anxious from dealing with a novel deadly disease and a large portion of the country is closed down, it is even harder to form collegial bonds with new co-workers or forge friendships in your community. In short, it’s a rough time to be navigating the transition from trainee to attending life.
One of the biggest challenges for new attendings is making the mindset shift around priorities versus agency. The general consensus among many trainees is personal agency is at a minimum during residency and fellowship, so personal priorities don’t really matter.
Once that way of thinking sets in, it can be challenging to shake once training ends. There is a default deference to what other people think is important. Whether it’s a patient, a co-worker or the person who makes your call schedule, you are primed to relinquish your agency in service to their priorities.
It may seem like the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime global health crisis is an inappropriate time to be focused on honoring your own priorities and establishing firm boundaries. Let me suggest this is exactly the right time to do so.
Physicians get disillusioned and dissatisfied with their lives in traditional practice environments during typical world events. These current circumstances are a prime set up for a fast path to burnout if you aren’t intentional about the policies that defend against it.
So, to my early career physician colleagues finding your footing in the middle of this pandemic, I recommend the following:
Get really clear and specific on your true priorities – none of that vague “I want to be happy” business.
Design your life to honor those priorities by setting appropriate boundaries on your time and energy. Learn to say no to people who expect a yes.
Put yourself in professional environments where you can respect the priorities of others, even if you don’t share them.
Surround yourself with people, inside and outside of work, who support your need to honor your priorities, even if they don’t share them.
You will likely need time and definitely need intention to accomplish all of these things as you settle into attending life. If you have them covered out of the gate, thank God for the blessing. If you don’t, please recognize and optimize all the internal and external resources you have to make them happen.
Connect with Dr. Senesie on LinkedIn