Trapped in MedicineFeb 14, 2022
When was the last time you were off duty? Where there was no inbox, no charts, no nursing phone calls, no patient calls/portal.
I don’t want to call it a holiday, but a time when you were unplugged from work? It might have been a vacation, a weekend or planned time away.
If you cannot remember, or it’s been years, then it’s simply too long ago. It can start to feel like you are trapped in Medicine.
But you are not trapped.
All of us are 100% replaceable. There is someone else equally qualified who could take over our position. Don’t be threatened, being replaceable is a beautiful thing. It helps us understand that we are not trapped, we can plan for true time away.
In 2010, I discovered this amazing revelation for myself. After 5 years of full time busy family practice, I gave notice of my intent to leave. As a family, we created an opportunity to go travelling around Australia. I upskilled in my emergency department skills and signed up to locum. We sold the house, car and most of our belongings and took off with no agenda and no timeline.
You know what? My patients were fine, they are resourceful and figured out ways to get medical care.
I was replaced.
I drove off into the sunset.
I read an account recently of a subspecialist who simply stated that she was able to have up to one week at a time until retirement. This was a Physician with young children, and the best she could foresee was one week at a time, forever.
I dare you all to come up with a plan that would get you 4, 6 or 8 weeks completely separated from your job.
None of us are so special that there is no one else on the entire planet who could take over for a while. It may not be a locum, it may just be colleagues filling your space for a while.
You don’t even need to plan something spectacular to do with that time, just break the trapped feeling.
My favourite is a long remote hiking trail, or a fishing cabin on a river or lake, with no internet or phone connection. Minimum 10 days.
It moves all the cobwebs out and makes way for dreams, joy and creativity.
You don’t just deserve it, it is necessary.
So if you tell me that you can’t leave, you are trapped, and you haven’t had a day off in decades – this is your moment. A challenge to change this reality for yourself, because you are the holder of the keys to get out of this current reality.
Believe it is possible and step toward it.
I dare you.
You are worthy of time to rest and restore.
There is a free masterclass available to you and I would love to see you there. We will be talking about how to create evenings and weekends free of work. That’s another important way to stop feeling trapped in Medicine!