Insights From Wapiti

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Post-Pandemic Burnout- A Silent Crisis

Post-pandemic burnout has become a silent crisis among healthcare professionals, particularly providers. Dr. Patricia Goodemote, an experienced ER physician and certified coach, recently talked about the challenges that physicians face as they navigate the complexities of their roles in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.

The Stigma

Dr. Goodemote highlighted the stigma associated with expressing post-pandemic burnout, emphasizing the hurdles providers face when addressing their mental well-being. She stated, “If you call the job and say you feel sick and can’t come in, that’s a no-brainer because you don’t want to get other people sick. But if you must call in and say I am having a really bad day, and I am just overwhelmed. Providers are expected to be infallible, at least providers”

Balancing Act

Reflecting on her own experiences, Dr. Goodemote shared the challenges of calling in sick, especially in environments where solo providers are prevalent. The fear of burdening colleagues dealing with post-pandemic burnout creates a reluctance to take time off. She noted, “It’s not a matter of ‘Oh, there’s two of you; one of you will have to work a little harder.’ It’s a matter of somebody’s going to be called in, so it’s tough to call off when you’re sick. It’s even harder to call off when you know someone else is dealing with the same things.”


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Longer Hours

Dr. Goodemote shed light on the intensifying pressures physicians face, especially those transitioning from residency to professional practice. The looming burden of student debt often pushes new physicians to work longer hours, impacting their well-being. “They are working outside of their comfort zone and keeping patients in the ER or the hospital, not feeling like they’re having a lot of support from the bigger hospitals,” she explained.

The Trust Deficit

Post-COVID, patient satisfaction and trust in the medical community have seen a noticeable decline. Dr. Goodemote attributed this to the lingering impact of the pandemic, vaccine hesitancy, and an overall sense of skepticism. “Patients are less likely to give people the benefit of the doubt because of the mistrust after the COVID thing,” she expressed.

Management Post-Pandemic Burnout

Even healthcare management has not been immune to burnout. Dr. Goodemote shared her experiences as an ER medical director during the pandemic, working double the expected hours. The prolonged stress and strain on healthcare professionals at all levels have contributed to widespread burnout.

In conclusion, Dr. Patricia Goodemote’s insights provide a candid look into post-pandemic burnout and the multifaceted challenges providers face. Addressing burnout requires a comprehensive approach, acknowledging the systemic issues impacting healthcare professionals and fostering environments prioritizing well-being.

As Dr. Goodemote puts it, “There are fewer providers. Plus, there is the difficulty with transfers, and people being pushed to work hours they may not want to. And I still think that they’re recovering.”