This is perhaps one of the MOST IMPORTANT PODCAST episodes ever created. If you are a physician or know a physician (which is pretty much everyone because we’re ALL patients!) PLEASE LISTEN.
Then reach out and ask your colleagues, your friends, your own physician, yourself: How are you really?
It’s ok to not be ok.
🙏 Please check in on each other. 🙏 Please reach out. 🙏 Please ask for help. 🙏 Please normalize being human. 🙏 Please normalize mental health, needing rest, & taking a break.
As physicians, we are some of THE MOST RESILIENT HUMANS ever in existence. If we say we’re tired, we need a break, ask to switch a shift, call, weekend, call in sick, or just need a day off – please listen to us. It’s our way of saying we need help, we’re struggling. Please hear our cry and act – instead of judging and pushing us to do more. Accept that we’re human and we need all of the human things: food, water, sleep, love, kindness, time to use the bathroom.
We all struggle. We all need rest. We all need a break. We all have brains & brains need to be cared for too.
Mental Health Matters.
Let’s normalize seeking help when we need it.
Please listen, share, support and watch out for each other. 🙏
Prior to SAFE and EFFECTIVE #COVID19vaccines, recently FDA EUA APPROVED for everyone ages 5y/o & older, being widely & readily available.
I honestly thought, as did many of my physician colleagues, that we’d be in a very different place right now.
We’ve been on the frontlines fighting this pandemic for the past 20+ months.
We have SAFE and EFFECTIVE VACCINES at our disposal. If EVERY SINGLE ELIGIBLE Minnesotan did their part & were to be fully vaccinated, we’d be in a very different place – with increasing herd immunity & less chance for persistent & continued SARS-CoV-2 viral spread.
Our resources are stretched to the limits, we’re short-staffed, & we‘re exhausted. Physicians, nurses, & support staff are fleeing in droves, retiring early, cutting back hours or quitting all together. And the effect is devastating.
Patients are suffering. Treatments are delayed. Morbidity and mortality are increasing.
There are no readily available hospital or ICU beds throughout the state.
Physicians are desperately reaching out via FaceBook posts in last ditch efforts to find open ICU/hospital beds in which to transfer patients needing higher acuity levels of care.
I can personally attest to the direness & brokenness of our current healthcare system.
This past weekend I was admitted to a local hospital due to unforeseen/unexpected circumstances. As a “physician patient” I am well aware of what to expect & what is considered acceptable standard of care.
These standards were NOT met.
Luckily, I have the knowledge & wherewithal to advocate appropriately on my behalf in order to obtain needed lifesaving treatments.
I personally witnessed physicians & nurses struggling to meet the needs of patients; exhausted, overworked, strapped for resources, & with too high a patient a census to adequately be able to give the needed time & attention to individual patients. Trying their best, wanting to help, while at the same time lacking in urgency; compassion worn thin.
Multiple stops/quality control check points/measures to be met/gone through before needed urgent medication could be given. Delays due to the EHR, orders difficult to find, access, or incorrectly entered, forgotten, or lost somewhere in cyberspace.
Constant shift changes, requiring pages to the on call physician, delayed responses, & the need for the rapid response team to be called – who then STILL needed to wait for pharmacy “approval” before administering urgently needed life saving medication treatment.
I am thankful, grateful, & lucky I am a physician able to speak up & advocate for myself, that I’m well connected to other physicians willing to help, lend support, & advocate on my behalf, & that I’m well trained & educated to know exactly what was happening & the emergent treatment needed.
I very well could have ended up intubated, in the ICU, or worse.
I share all of this to highlight the extreme, dire situation in which we are currently living.
I am personally asking & imploring every Minnesotan to:
🙏 PLEASE HELP US HELP YOU.
💉 PLEASE GET VACCINATED.
😷 PLEASE WEAR A MASK.
🏡 PLEASE STAY HOME WHEN ILL, GET TESTED & QUARANTINE APPROPRIATELY.
🤔 PLEASE THINK TWICE BEFORE GOING to that next get together, gathering, or game. & before traveling.
WE NEED EVERY SINGLE MINNESOTAN TO HEAR & HEED OUR CRIES.
Please. We need your help to end this pandemic. 🙏
To find & schedule a COVID19 VACCINE near you, please visit: Vaccines.gov.
This morning, while scrolling through social media, I encountered a resounding theme.
Multiple physicians posting about being challenged, disrespected, & made to feel worthless by the very people they were trying to help: their own patients.
Being brought to tears by the disrespect of patient’s family members.
Physician expertise blatantly questioned.
Patients telling doctors – to their faces – that they “don’t like their tone”, and then telling nurses they don’t like “that doctor”.
ICU patients in rural hospitals; being cared for by stressed and tired nurses that usually care for much less critically ill high acuity patients.
Overworked, exhausted physicians & nurses doing their best to stay afloat, strapped for resources, yet rising to the challenge of caring for these extremely sick patients.
Repeatedly donning & doffing PPE, putting their own lives at risk, pushing themselves harder & harder – not sleeping, not eating, waiting to empty their own bladders or take the time to defecate.
Unable to transfer patients to hospitals better equipped in caring for such fragile ICU patients – because there are NO BEDS available throughout our state or in surrounding states.
Told: “I read that….and so & so says, and, well I heard, and I googled, and I don’t believe in, and I’m not going to do that”, and the infamous all time favorite: “I did my research.”
Physicians filled with trepidation at the start of their shift – knowing that they have extremely ill fragile ICU patients for which to care in addition to all of the patients in the ER & throughout the entire hospital.
Yet we continue to show up.
Report to our shifts.
Drop our own kids off at school/daycare so that we may take care of the needs of others.
We miss birthdays, holidays, school plays, sporting events, dinners….
All too often we sacrifice ourselves, our health, & our own well-being so as to honor the oath we all took as we became physicians.
To every single PHYSICIAN that continues to show up & care for patients – during this ongoing COVID19 pandemic – now and in the future, I want you to HEAR and REMEMBER the following:
YOU are the physician. It’s YOUR license, YOUR education, & YOUR responsibility to care for patients in the best way possible – and if they disagree – tough! You’re the EXPERT – not them. It’s not your fault they’re in this situation.
You make the decisions period.
You do not have to accept that behavior from anyone.
Strongly, yet very sweetly, state: “this is what is best for your care & this is what is happening”. Done. It’s not a question. It’s a plain & simple fact. Standard of care requires you to be transferred. (Or to not be prescribed ivermectin!).
We – as PHYSICIANS – make the medical decisions. It’s non-negotiable.
I’m so tired of others questioning, discounting, & challenging our expertise while at the same time playing on our altruism knowing that we’ll care for them no matter what. Meanwhile we’re exhausted, overworked, stretched to the limits, putting our own lives at risk daily – and for what?
To be disparaged, questioned, challenged, & disrespected?
It’s time we ALL embrace OUR EXPERTISE, demand RESPECT, & set BOUNDARIES.
We are highly educated human beings with a special skill set & they NEED US way more than we need them.
It’s time for all of us to stop being pawns in a game we were never asked if we wanted to play.
My 2 cents.
And huge hugs to every single one of you.
You deserve better.
You are worthy of respect, love, & to have your orders followed appropriately. ❣️
I’ve got your backs, & I hope you’ll always have mine. Individually we are powerful. Together we are unstoppable.
In scrolling through FB this morning, I came across a post by a fellow physician mama, in which she acknowledged she is not ok. She is struggling. And she’s sitting in the all the feelings, allowing them to wash over her, the bad, the hurt, the disgust, the anger, the hopelessness.
Allowing, admitting & acknowledging that she’s not ok. And at the same time, that she realizes she has control over her thoughts, & that some days it’s ok to just sit in those thoughts that may not best serve – but that are part of us too.
That feelings are just that: feelings. And that those feelings do not determine your self worth.
For as she states: “You are good and worthy and valuable and lovable—every which way, and every day.”
It’s ok to not be ok, & to acknowledge & feel all the feels.
Frankly, I think we’re all struggling right now.
Trying to wrap our heads around how & why we all try so hard, trust each other, science, our colleagues, go the extra mile, FIND & CREATE SOLUTIONS – safe, effective vaccines, masks to help protect – yet it’s still not enough for some – the conspiracy theorists, the non-believers, the disinformation spreaders.
To think where we might be right now if past leadership had instilled hope & trust, rather than blatant denial & division.
Yet, what’s happened, happened.
So we move forward. We regroup. We stick together. We work together. We press on, continue advocating, spreading awareness, & having conversations, one starfish at a time.
We cry. We rant. We’re exhausted.
Sometimes we just want to give up.
Yet we know in our hearts that the light continues to shine – dimly at times, but has yet to go out.
Because we have each other. We’re part of the same tribe.
We are badass women physicians that get it.
We understand each other.
The sacrifice, the joy, the struggle, the accomplishments, the loss, the wins.
Together we are powerful.
We are a force. We are a force for change.
We have each other. We have each other’s backs.
We believe. And that is why we will prevail, together, by lifting, listening, holding space, crying, encouraging, & creating a world in which we can not only survive, but thrive.
So it’s ok to not be ok, because we have each other.
We’ve got you now, & when we’re in need, my bet is that you’ll have us too. ❤️
Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations represetning speciaists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.