ACC WIC Career Tips: The Path to a Long Career Without Burnout

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CAREER DEVELOPMENT | With so many recent articles on physician burn out in both men and women, I asked myself how I have managed to have a fulfilling 30-year career without burnout.

I would recommend two items that I have stuck to over the years.

First, never leave vacation time go unused.

I work in a health system that does not let you accumulate vacation time from one year to the other, so I have always taken time off approximately every three months to relax and destress. I then have always returned to the office or the hospital invigorated and happy to be back.

In addition, I also try to attend at least one educational meeting per year.

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The second rule I had was to never agree to a 7 a.m. meeting.

I have always protected my time from 6 – 7 a.m. to work out and take care of my own health.

We all know our days can seem endless and we cannot usually protect time at the end of the workday. With rare exceptions, I never attended meetings until at least 7:30 a.m.

I was president of the medical staff and chief of cardiology for 13 years and stuck to my plan. Almost always, the meetings were changed to suit my needs.

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This article was authored by Joan L. Thomas, MD, CPE, FACC, cardiologist at Rochester Regional Health in Rochester, NY.