Article on how “locuming” solved one Physician’s battle with burnout!

This is a very interesting article I found on “” which is about a Neurosurgeon, Duane Gainsburg MD, in the US who moved to locuming to create a better work life balance.

He had some good definitions of stress and burnout;-

“Stress and burnout are often lumped together, but they are distinct processes. Unlike stress which is associated with over engagement, burnout is characterized by disengagement, blunted emotions, depression, exhaustion which affects motivation and drive, and demoralization. Stress produces a sense of urgency and hyperactivity, while burnout produces a sense of helplessness and hopelessness.”

And these quote really struck a cord with me, particularly the statement I have put in bold;-

“In private practice, I had the pervading sense that because of all the distractions and competing agendas I wasn’t able to deliver the best care I was capable of.  There was an underlying layer of guilt, and of missed professional opportunity.”

Now, I’m paid for the time spent taking care of folks, rather than for how much I can bill for this or that procedure. It’s a four-way win – families benefit from improved relationships with their doctor; I benefit professionally from the satisfaction of providing excellent care no matter how long it takes; the hospital benefits by providing continuity of care and consistent coverage, and I benefit financially by the time I spend in direct patient contact, whether in the operating room, emergency room, intensive care unit, etc.”

And my response to the article was that I was happy that he made a choice to honor a healthier work life balance as I myself am a great believer that when the doctor feels healthy and balanced (physically, psychologically and spiritually) then they will be able to deliver better “care” to their patients. 

Great article – good on him for having the courage to write and share this with a larger audience!

Thanks Bish:)

Calm within the storm



Calm within the storm,

The straw that broke the camels back,


Is this just ‘pressure’, or a wino drinking crack?


The whole world of insanity eventually comes to face,

Us all in the mirror of time and grace,


So slow down your pace,

And see what is there,


I challenge you to do this!

If you do so care?

For when we are calm ,

The chaos becomes our balm 


And we can apply it to ourselves others too,

You also can be part of this new “calmness brew”!?


And even if those who have realized this maybe few,

Join me now in hand, and perhaps we can unfold what is long overdue?


First few shifts in Port Hedland

It was a busy emergency shift yesterday, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed in an environment where the demand can quickly shift to outstrip the available resources. This is often the case in the world of emergency medicine, but being a Locum perhaps adds an extra challenge to the mix because you are never familiar with how things run when starting in a new place.

Lucky for me, the staff I was working with were so friendly and helpful. Last night I was surrounded by fellow doctors, nurses and allied health who gave me the support I needed. In addition the specialists (Physician, Surgeon and Pediatrician supporting the emergency department) were proactive in helping! Already I was reminded of what I have experienced before when previously working in remote and rural settings. There seemed to be a kind of communal spirit focused on what I believe all health care workers should be focused on, “serving the patient”. This is the same spirit that can easily get lost in the impersonal way that many bigger city hospitals operate. 

So in amongst the chaos of the department, I was stuck in the middle of a fire alarm drill whilst managing a patient. It was just a “fire drill” and we were all told to stand down from the high alert, but there was still a technical glitch in the alarm system leaving it ringing for almost 10 minutes (aka- an eternity!). It was at this time that I felt that I had to hold insanity by the hand which probably lead to the source of this poem – luckily I made it back to the other side – Yay for the “Calm”!