Physician Sentiment: First-Person Perspectives

From Doximity’s Op-Med

Jun 24, 2024 | Kate Domin - Doximity Marketing Manager

Op-Med is a place for Doximity members to share their stories and experiences with their peers. This submission-based channel invites members of the Doximity platform to use their voices to address any topic related to medicine. Physician members discuss work-life balance, the business of medicine, lessons learned from challenging patient cases, reflections on their careers, and more. These articles are shared with a broad audience and appear on the authoring physician’s Doximity profile. Op-Meds can be a great way to strengthen a physician's profile, share updates with their network, and directly contribute to important conversations in the medical community.

Op-Med articles give a window into what physicians are thinking about, talking about, worried about, and excited about. We’re recapping some of the most popular Op-Meds from the last few months to share insight into physician sentiment. 

Physician Shortage and Burnout 

We’ve talked at length about physician burnout and the impact of the the physician shortage issue. In Doximity’s 2024 Physician Compensation Report, 67% of physicians surveyed reported they have experienced feelings of overwork or burnout as a direct result of the physician shortage.  Physicians have also shared their own personal strategies for managing burnout on Op-Med. 

In her article “Why Self Care is Not Enough in Solving Burnout,” Dr. Archana Reddy shares her experience as an emergency medicine physician who was used to staying cool even in the frantic and fast-paced environment of the emergency department. That is until her self-described “professional rock bottom burnout moment” when her medical director checked in on her after staff noticed a marked change in behavior. Frustrated, since it felt like she was doing everything possible to stay on top of burnout, she finally turned to life coaching to deal with the mental and emotional exhaustion she was experiencing. For Dr. Reddy, practicing “thought work” was the crucial step to go beyond rudimentary “self-care” platitudes and impact her burnout. She shares actionable, step-by-step ways for others, something that is often missing from the burnout discussion. 

From another perspective, Dr. Brittany Panico shares how embracing creativity in her day-to-day work helped break up the monotony of being a young attending. Feeling “stuck in the grind” made it challenging to tap into any reservoirs of creative energy. But, she was craving something that would generate more energy within her day. For her, that meant taking ownership of how to embrace creativity in talking to patients, explaining diagnoses, and making recommendations. This shift allowed her to think of her role as a physician as “more of a work of art rather than the daily grind.” In her words, her “burnout weighed a little less,” and her patients noticed a difference, too. Dr. Panico advocates for others to intentionally tap back into medicine’s fun and inventive elements. 

The People Behind Medicine 

Op-Med also provides a space for physicians to share the human side of clinical experience, including how they employ different hobbies, activities, and perspectives to improve their wellbeing and career satisfaction.

In a somewhat shockingly titled Op-Med, “The Most Mediocre Doctor You Know,” Dr. Francis Hardin questions the excellence philosophy that is rampant in medicine. She uses cross-country running and training as an analogy: “ If you run your race at 100% of your ability and you are about to be passed on the finishing stretch, you will have nothing left in the tank.” She argues the same is true for medicine. Approaching tasks with a “mediocrity mindset” (effective, viable solutions) allows you to be free to be excellent when needed. And, just like in running, she’s seen this principle mindshift yield better and more diverse results. 

Another physician, Dr. Kimberly Clare is a trained pediatrician and martial artist. In “Black Belt, White Coat,” she explores the shared philosophies and skills between Tang Soo Do and medicine. She compares the origins, training approaches, doctrine, and mix of art and science within both. And, she shares that her journey with martial arts initially began as an attempt to support her mental health and combat burnout. But, the lessons learned have also helped her guide her patients. 

The Business of Medicine 

Topics around healthcare policy, finances, retirement, private practice ownership, and more often appear in Op-Med articles. 

Dr. Amit Phull, an emergency medicine physician and Chief Physician Experience Officer at Doximity, recently broke down what the FTC’s ban on noncompetes could mean for healthcare professionals. Dr. Phull cites a Doximity poll from 2023 where 87% of physician respondents supported the proposed ban. He shares some potential pros (including enhanced mobility, positive competition, innovation, and autonomy) and potential cons (including, organizational instability, legal uncertainty, and economic concerns) often cited by supporters and opponents, respectively. And, he questions whether this ruling will actually impact physicians, especially those who work for not-for-profit organizations that are exempt from FTC rulings. 

In a different vein, Dr. Jordan Frey, a plastic surgeon and founder of a personal finance blog, uses Op-Med to share “How Tracking My Net Worth Helped Me Become a Physician Millionaire.” This incredibly transparent peek into Dr. Frey’s personal finances, including goals, habits, and net worth trajectory, offers practical tips for physicians who might have similar goals.He also addresses the “arrival fallacy” of reaching “millionaire” status, sharing his personal definitions and expectations before reaching “financial freedom.” 

Increasingly, Op-Med articles that open dialogue about personal finance decisions, including side gigs, retirement, private practice, and more, are quite popular. Results of Doximity’s latest physician compensation report suggest that compensation, autonomy, and work-life balance are front-of-mind for a majority of physicians. 

The Science of Medicine 

Of course, Doximity is known for being the newsfeed of medicine, and many Op-Med articles reflect the clinical focus of the Doximity newsfeed. From conference recap articles like “The Elephant in the GI System” to deep dives on specific prescription drugs like “What Clinicians Can Do About The Rise of the ‘Zombie Drug,’” physician authors use Op-Med to share their clinical subject matter expertise.  

Do you work with a physician who is interested in contributing an Op-Med? Learn more about Doximity’s submission criteria and process.