Meet Jenn Evans, a dedicated healthcare professional with a background as an OBGYN. She knows firsthand the importance of addressing burnout in high-stress careers. Checkout our new MFC – Live! interview to get her insights and strategies for tackling burnout.
We will be answering these questions:
– What are examples of signs of burnout?
– What Are Some Of The Commonalities For Burnout?
– What Are Things You Have Done To Combat Burnout?
Transcript Edited For Clarity
Scenario: “What is burnout? And, what strategies can you implement to overcome burnout?”
Enpo Tu: All right, thank you everyone for joining us for My Financial Coach – Live! today. We have Jenn Evans with us, and she’s here to address something that we find is one of the growing topics that we are getting a lot of requests for, and it actually has to do with the nature of the work that we do with our clients. Oftentimes we are working with individuals who have worked really hard to achieve their career goals and oftentimes they’re working a lot of hours even after the fact of achieving their dream career, and so they’re working super hard, and sometimes it doesn’t feel like they’re making a lot of financial or personal progress, and that could lead to a lot of stress. The official word, of course, is “burnout”. So as someone who is a specialist in this, we wanted to get Jenn Evans’s view on this, but before we continue on with this topic, would it be all right if you were to give us a little bit of a background about yourself, Jenn?
Jenn Evans: Yeah, sure. Thanks, Enpo. And thank you for inviting me to join you today. My background is mainly in healthcare. I know that you have a lot of Health Care leaders and providers that work through My Financial Coach. But yeah, as far as my background, I started out as a physician assistant, so I did that prior to going to medical school. I did that for five years and was ready to launch more into Medical School, elected to do an OB GYN residency, which unfortunately happens to be one of the higher areas of burnout. I’ve always had an interest in business, so during medical school, I got a Master of Public Health in system… or really…. hospital system management. Knowing I was going to go into private practice, being able to understand management as well as doing OB GYN, I did a little bit of that, got into leadership within the hospital initially as a medical director. I think you’ve mentioned you have some medical directors that you work with. So not only do they practice, they’re also providing leadership, and I grew so much in the medical directorship role they asked me to become a vice president. So practice for a little bit as a physician, and then was an executive leader. But… between the both of them together, it was best that I picked one or the other, ended up doing the executive work as a vice president of women’s and then took on Pediatrics. During that time, you know, you’re kind of like ”okay, how did you get into this executive coaching?” which I know you know I do. I was experiencing rapid growth within the organization. The organization was growing, especially in our pediatric department. We did a large acquisition or integration if I want to word it more like that. But I was like “can I get an executive coach?” And they said yes. And as I was experiencing the benefits of an executive coach I said, “I think I’d like to do this”. So, I did the training, and now that’s what I do. I have my own company, and I also do some c-suite advising as well for an international firm. So it was a lot, Enpo, but just kind of that career, and as I’m sure you see people making transitions within Healthcare.
Enpo: When it comes down to the interactions that both of us have, I can tell you that when clients are coming to us and getting financial support, ideally it’s 80% financial, maybe 20% personal because our background, our training is in, well: “How is it that we can make you as financially efficient and healthy as possible?” At the same time, of course, we understand we’re working with a human. We’re not working with little “Econo people” that are trying to maximize efficiency. So, what we’re trying to do is also hear “Hey, what are some of your concerns?” So, you know, when they come to us with signs of burnout, they may not be aware of it. So, could you maybe give us some signs that you’ve seen when there is “Hey, I’m noticing this burnout” as it’s just part of that Executive coaching that you do?
Jenn: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, as people come to me with burnout, I usually ask them about financial concerns because they can be interrelated. Burnout itself, what we usually describe it as, mental and physical exhaustion. Sometimes it’s one or the other, but really, as Physicians, a lot of times you’re putting in 60 to 80 hours. There are some that are fortunate that may only be working 40 hours or a little less. But for the most part, you know, those long hours, the demands on being accurate 100% of the time, you know, there’s just no margin for error in health care. It can become exhausting. And if you’re not getting enough sleep… in residency, I would work 36-hour shifts, and people are like, that’s how many hours I work in an entire week. Fortunately, there’s more safeguards put into place now, so most people aren’t working that long of a shift. But it does become physically demanding. And you know, there’s other things too, as far as the mental aspect. You know, once again, OB GYN unfortunately is one of those higher malpractice areas, as well as others. And if you’re constantly thinking, okay, there’s a risk of malpractice with this, most people don’t, but I find that people start having a little bit of stress, and then it just gradually escalates. It’s almost I would say kind of an insidious process that you’re not quite aware of at the beginning until you just go “wow, I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”
Enpo: It sounds as if heightened stress levels, it sounds thoughts of quitting and things like that. But any others that you can think of?
Jenn: Yeah, I think what I see with some people, and when I mention Healthcare, it’s across many different industries. It’s just more prevalent in Healthcare. People start becoming withdrawn, socially, the events that they used to go to, they’re like “I’m too busy”, “I’m too tired”. There may be some interpersonal relationship problems, marital, kids, they may not be going to all those little league games that they used to be going to, they’re just like “I just can’t do it”. And so, they withdraw from all of that.
Enpo: Now that we’ve identified what people are coming to you for, and also potentially seeing when they get there, or you’re seeing when they get there, you know when you start speaking with them and you start working with them, can you tell us, hey, what are some of the commonalities for this burnout that you’re seeing? I think we touched on it a little earlier with maybe lack of sleep and hours, but any others that you could see?
Jenn: Yeah, no no… like I did… I mentioned the malpractice part of that. You know, other things that I’m seeing too is just… you know, most Physicians are really focused on health and wellness. I mean, that’s partly how we get into this, and then they’re no longer doing their morning exercise routine. They’re cutting that short. They’re either going into the office or they’re like, I’ve got to try to get some extra sleep. So yeah, there’s just a multitude of things, But a lot of Physicians or nurse practitioners (because I work with nurse practitioners too)… they’ll come to me and they’ll just say “As much as I hate to say this I’m a mess! I don’t know what to do. I’ve invested (literally and figuratively… monetary) in this career and I’m not sure that I want to continue it.” and it’s a really challenging realization that they come to. And it’s not – I think there’s just so much stress, that it’s like “do you continue or do you not?” and most are like once we can work through that by managing work-life balance, getting down to understanding what some of those stressors are then we can start… you know readdressing the medical aspect. Um… one thing if I add in there too is… you know… especially with you on working on the financial side as a coach and me working more on the uh leadership and then burnout if you will aspect with so many Physicians. Physicians when – and I’m sure you’re seeing this in your numbers that you work with the Physicians as well as four years of college. Four years of medical school, four years of residency. Residency isn’t paid well. You finish all that and you owe maybe two hundred thousand dollars and you’re wanting to start a family and they’re like “woah… you know I’ve gotta… I’ve got to do this”. And then you’ve got an organization that’s saying “do more, produce more.” You know demands on productivity and all that
Enpo: yeah, it sounds as if there’s a lot of commonalities that you’re seeing I mean certainly we’re seeing it as well. There’s obviously not a one-size-fit-all solution for that, I can imagine. Um, what are some of the things that you’ve seen really works to address some of these root causes instead of just “well you know… put a Band-Aid on it and walk it off”.
Jenn: yeah, I love how you say that because I think a lot of times as Physicians will try to put a Band-Aid on it and you know put our happy face on and you know show up at the office OR in the or whatever …. whatever it is but what I really like to do with clients, this is one of the things I tell them initially we didn’t just land here today when I’m first meeting with you. How we were as a child, how we went through college, things that happened along the way or through residency training is kind of who we are now. So, I like to understand that. I like to understand if they have a — you know — what else is going on in their world like I mentioned: finances, are there health issues? Are there family issues that are playing a role in all of that? And then what is that future desired State because that’s what we do as coaches we want to try to get to: that desired state for that individual and so for each person it really is just breaking all those things down that are adding to that emotional and potentially physical exhaustion that’s occurring within them.
Enpo: So, for example it’s not just a matter of…. you know “go outside more” “see more sunlight” “put down the happy meals” and whatnot. It’s a lot it’s a lot of deep soul searching uh and when it comes to that burnout that occurs. It sounds as if everyone’s kind of different and they may need a game plan so I just if you could for — to kind of close this out — give us a little bit about maybe some of the some of the things that you’ve done that help with that burnout maybe just one or two examples that would be helpful?
Jenn: Yeah! So, I like to better understand their schedule. So, is there some schedule management things that we can do? Is there… are they giving time for themselves? Maybe that’s exercise in the morning, going to work, having something else at the end of the day, making sure that they get home to be with their family. One of my big goals was always having dinner with the family. But what I do is really as an example, I need to understand their schedule and that’s where I’ve helped a lot of people and then kind of be that accountability partner for making those changes. You know, sometimes I’ll talk about meditation and people are like “I don’t do that” and then as you introduce them to some of the apps that you can put on your phone that are out there… there’s a whole host of them like “Breathe” or “Calm” or “Headspace” — I’m not, you know, aligned with any of those. But, um… you know working through that working through a physical Fitness type plan. But really – and then if it is financial, I like to get someone like you, Enpo, involved that can help them work through that I tell them I don’t pretend to be your financial advisor but I want to make sure that if that’s a potential stressor if you’re on that treadmill of doing more so that you can afford certain things or you have Financial stresses. Let’s get someone else involved. So really it’s just understanding the root of what’s going on, and then working individually with those challenges. I think you know really part of coaching too is it’s more the client, not me, doing the talking and you know we can hold all these things and thoughts up in in our head (which we typically do) but as the client, or as I say the coachee, is sharing what their challenges are a lot of times it comes to them um and they’re like “Yeah, I this just doesn’t make sense, yeah we do need to work through this” so that’s part of coaching as well.
Enpo: Well Jenn, we appreciate the time that you’ve taken today and we would love to of course have you on in the future. Thank you so much for being on and, we hope that our listeners have enjoyed the session.
Jenn: Thank you! Thank you for the opportunity.
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