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Hippo Education
By Hippo Education on October 19, 2021

Addressing Burnout

Header1Join us for a Q&A with emergency physician/Hippo CEO Aaron Bright as we pick his brain on one of the biggest issues in modern clinical practice.

Depleting at best and career ending at worst, burnout impacts daily clinical practice more than the industry cares to admit. With a baseline stress level that’s already difficult to manage, the added pressures of a global pandemic have intensified burnout in the medical community. Our fearless leader Aaron Bright weighs in on burnout identification, prevention, and hope for the people of medicine as we continue to weather COVID-19.

Q: Alright Aaron, let’s start with basic burnout identification. What does it look like in manifestation?

Aaron: Burnout looks a lot like depression. If you’re getting angry at inappropriate times or undeserving targets, experiencing anger spilling into other parts of your life like at home with your family, it could be burnout. There’s typically also a general lack of motivation, of empathy, of dedication, of happiness in your job. It’s multi-faceted.

Q: Do you think clinician burnout has changed in the reality of COVID?

Aaron: Burnout has gone in waves as COVID has gone in waves. I think it’s been hard for people to be the best clinicians they can be and be healthy for themselves. I think there’s a lot of sacrifice where people are saying ‘I’ll get back to my own health after I take care of this thing happening in the world.’ I haven’t recently run into many clinicians who aren’t experiencing at least some burnout, to be honest.

Q: One of the most recent waves of COVID is the Delta variant. Do you think it’s impacted clinician burnout?

Aaron: I think it’s affecting everybody in different ways. Delta has been one of those things that we thought was over, we thought rest was coming, and it’s back. It’s exacerbated societal polarization that has made it politically difficult for people to get on the same page and follow standard public health advice. I think the medical community is feeling frustrated about it.

Q: And so with a likelihood of experiencing burnout in practice, any recommendations for preventing and overcoming it?

Aaron: I believe education and community are paramount to clinicians’ wellness, regardless of the pandemic, but especially now that it’s our reality. This is exactly why Hippo exists. If a clinician’s education—the foundation for their practice, fulfillment, confidence—has voids or gets outdated from lack of strengthening, everything built on it begins to crumble. Engaging education combats burnout. It inspires, it sparks curiosity, it empowers. It’s vital that clinicians fortify their education, not just for a credit requirement, but for their holistic well being. The way we do education at Hippo is through intentional community. Our content is built to remind you that you’re not in a silo practicing on your own, that you have comrades that are battling the same war and issues beside you. We are laughing and crying with you exactly when the occasion demands it. Burnout is less likely to take root when you feel supported.

Q: So if community and education are the antidote to burnout, how has Hippo adjusted curriculum to address COVID and keep clinicians up to date?

Aaron: I have been so proud of the team and how quickly everybody’s been working to respond to COVID updates. With the stream of information, especially early on, we ended up building a COVID hub filled with free content. The CDC even picked up our video on how to correctly wear protective gear. I think clinicians are all aware of that protocol by this point, but it’s been top priority that we hit COVID developments as they happen.

Q: Alright last question Aaron. As a seasoned clinician, any words of encouragement you can share for medical students entering their profession in a COVID reality? And what about for the tenured practitioner?

Aaron: Nowadays if you’re in medical school and you chose medicine consciously, you know that it’s a rough time to be a clinician. And I think you’re more focused on the mission than the other things that come with it, like salary and prestige. Medicine is one of the most rewarding and privileged things you can do in your life—to help people at their lowest of lows. So, to them I say well done. You have a challenging but fulfilling life ahead of you and you’ve chosen well. For the tenured, I strongly recommend digging into your community to get what you need for your own well being. You are a scarce and invaluable resource. If we all burnout we’re dealing society a terrible blow. Find some way to receive and give support to your medical peers, but also your family, your neighbors, and your friends. Seek healthy spaces to ignore some of the disheartening noise that comes through as we go through this terrible pandemic. And so to the tenured clinicians who’ve fought the good fight and will continue, I say, find your people and try to deeply support each other.


Published by Hippo Education October 19, 2021
Hippo Education