Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Sejal Desai, a family medicine physician with over 20 years of experience with a board certification in obesity medicine. They discuss how medical students can navigate their med school journeys and the feeling of burnout, work-life balance, and the three things she wished
- [00:00] Introduction
- [03:19] A Med Student’s Life Journey
- [05:44] Navigating Burnout
- [11:44] Three Things Dr. Desai Wishes She Knew Before Starting Out
- [17:45] Is Work-Life Balance Possible?
- [21:04] What Dr. Desai Would Change About US Healthcare
- [22:47] Parting Thoughts
Dr. Desai dislikes the word “burnout” especially in medicine where physicians are just simply told what to do. She believes that it’s important for med students to take some time, focus on themselves, and figure out what it is that they really want. She cites Jay Shetty, a motivational speaker, and the concept of “dharma” as an important learning, which is all about figuring out our place in the world and using our gifts to make a better place. From this, it’s important for medical students to take some time and re-evaluate their where and why to help them navigate their eventual path and career.
Dr. Desai’s Advice in Retrospect
Dr. Desai shares three things she wished she knew before starting out her career as a family medicine physician: first is that bedside manners matter more than grades. Grades are important, but they are not everything, especially when patients care more about how attentive and honest doctors are and not what grade they got in medical school. Secondly, medicine is not just about helping patients but also administrative work such as documentation, labs, and imaging to name a few. Managing your time according to this is crucial to prevent being overworked and overwhelmed. Lastly, she realized how big of a role lifestyle plays in disease. Almost all diseases are related to four things: nutrition, physical activity, quality of sleep, and stress levels. If we learn and fix this early in life, we can fix a lot of health problems in the long run.
Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Desai believes that work-life balance is achievable. She suggests paying attention to three important things when it comes to work-life balance. First is communicating well and setting expectations with colleagues on time and schedules, second is delegating tasks, and the last one is scheduling the downtime such as personal hobbies and self-care.
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