Book Review

  • The Other Side of Burnout – Solutions for Healthcare Professionals

    By: Melissa Wolf, MD and Shaun J Gillis, MD

    Author Info:
    Wolf and Gillis are practicing physicians, speakers and coaches. They use their personal experiences with burnout to help the reader understand the extent of the problem, and share their success stories.

    Summary
    The authors chose to write this book after struggling with burnout and observing their peers struggling. The book is divided into eighteen short sections that capture themes for burnout, provide real examples and comprehensive lists of suggested strategies. Each section includes what individuals can do to “revive their situation” and what organizations can do to “support providers and improve engagement”. The eighteen sections include: Time-Values Mismatch, False Expectations, Identity Crisis, Isolation, Feeling Undervalued, Numbness, The “Next Logical Step” Syndrome, The Hypocritic Oath, Perceived Limitations, Money Madness, Disillusionment, Death by 1000 Papercuts, Our Language, Differing Agendas, Self-Inflected Suffering, Electronic Medical Record and Documentation, Knowing When to Take Time Off, and What to do Now.

    Strengths
    The authors present a no-nonsense approach. They frequently acknowledge that the suggestions are not easy to implement. Their main point is that if we wait for the organization or system to solve our burnout, that it will never happen. We have to take control of our own happiness and fulfillment. They challenge mindsets throughout the book, as sometimes that is all we can do in a given area – change how we think about it. They emphasize choices, mindset changes, attitudes and desired behaviors throughout the book. While they mention the possibility of needing the change jobs, this is not the overall message. They support staying at the current job while making changes that align with your values and priorities.

    Weaknesses
    The examples are all physician-related. A few examples for healthcare overall or other professional may benefit non-physician readers. However, the authors do note that this is their perspective and the suggested activities for the most part are relevant to anyone.

    Conclusion
    The Other Side of Burnout is an excellent resource for anyone struggling with work life balance, chronic work stress or burnout.