work burnout

After Another Horrid Shift, Doctor Calls Palliative Care on Self, Goes Home with Hospice

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ATLANTA, GA – For internist Karen Davenport, today’s shift was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  She struggled mightily as she was asked to “suck it up” and see 935 patients, 100% of which were a pain in the ass, malingering, or both.  Realizing there was no use in fighting difficult patients, demanding administrators, or useless insurers any more, Davenport called palliative care on herself and decided to go home with hospice.

work burnout“The odds were stacked against Karen,” said chief of internal medicine Benjamin Watts.  “Being overworked, understaffed, underappreciated, over-litigated, micromanaged, and the endless charting… Davenport’s expectancy was less than 6 months for sure.”

Over the past two months, Davenport showed signs that burnout was progressing despite decreased work hours and interventions like vacations, running, massages, heavy drinking, binge-eating, antidepressants, and psychotherapy.  Last week, it became clear that in her toxic work environment, Davenport was failing to thrive.

Burnout in its final stages is like dementia,” said palliative care nurse practitioner Jonathan Rappaport.  “Your faculties fail, you’re unable to take care of yourself let alone others, and you battle with incontinence.  Ultimately, you succumb to dehydration from forgetting to drink or eat, renal failure from forgetting to pee, and infection like MRSA or C. diff.”

Yesterday, Davenport received the unfortunate news that her burnout had metastasized to the mind, body, and soul.  After today’s horrible, just horrible shift, Davenport made up her mind and realized that she no longer needed to suffer in the hospital.  She wanted to be home with family.

“Karen said she no longer wanted to be a health care practitioner, she just wanted to be comfortable,” said palliative care physician Laura Harrison.  An expert in burnout, Harrison has helped hundreds of thousands of nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, therapists, nutritionists, doctors, and others by attending to their pain and symptoms as well as their emotional and spiritual needs.  “We had a family meeting.  Karen’s a DNR.  We took away her stethoscope and white coatWe inactivated her pager.  A chaplain was present.”

Harrison and her palliative care team started morphine to help with the pain of a modern-day health care practitioner.  Xanax and Remeron were given for Davenport’s fragile nerves and pager-related PTSD.  She was given Ativan, scopolamine, and Decadron for intractable work-related nausea and vomiting.  She was also given a bowel regimen since she hadn’t pooped in weeks.

“There is a way to improve our quality of life, but we, first, have to accept our terminal work conditions,” said Davenport as she was escorted to the lobby to be met with family.  She hopes she remembers what her children, husband, and bed look like.

“Karen looks so much happier now,” said close friend and charge nurse Rebecca Stevens, holding back some tears.  “When was the last time you were truly happy at work?”

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  • Show Comments

  • Avatar
    Joseph Mack

    Hilarious and unfortunately so reflective of the reality.

  • Avatar
    Brian Belanger

    Remeron is the best! Abilify is essential in large dosses.

  • Avatar
    Sally Grace

    Tina Grace this is so funny!!!!! I now know there is relief on the horizon!!!!

  • Avatar
    Nisha Ramsinghani

    Ka R Thik Sindhura Reddy

  • Avatar
    Tina Grace

    Sally Grace

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Varga

    Sign me up!

  • Avatar
    Terry N Teresa Rolan

    Absolutely brilliant idea!

  • Avatar
    Dana Cravens

    It is about quality of life after all.

  • Avatar
    Susan M. Penick

    One of the best stories yet!

  • Avatar
    Carol Rosenberg

    This is my life!!

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Jacobs Bordner

    Love this!

  • Avatar
    Leslie Fontenot

    Hahahah!! Thanks Jenn for the laugh!

  • Avatar
    Chloe Ayres

    so true :(

  • Avatar
    Leucine Evelyn

    oh god it’s way to early in our careers to be empathising so strongly with this article!

  • Avatar
    Hannah Querin

    Leucine Evelyn this one is a cracker

  • Avatar
    Hannah Querin

    Leucine Evelyn this one is a cracker

  • Avatar
    Leeda Rashid

    I’ve already put in advanced directives…lol.

  • Avatar
    Leeda Rashid

    I’ve already put in advanced directives…lol.

  • Avatar
    Meg Gustafson Dexter

    Loy lol

  • Avatar
    Meg Gustafson Dexter

    Loy lol

  • Avatar
    June Rolph

    Lol

  • Avatar
    Liza Raymond

    Paperless work. Lol

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth Maxwell

    Chloe Ayres this is us! Halfway there on the Ativan

  • Avatar
    Erica Ledesma

    Funny yet sad that I can relate so much to this. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  • Avatar
    Theresa Terri Higginbotham-Torretti

    Hahaha!!!!!!! You guys are the BEST!!

  • Avatar
    Melanie Bernstein

    Marissa Cavallaro it’s great knowing it doesn’t end in med school and this will be the rest of our life…

  • Avatar
    Benjamin W. Thomas

    As a pall care reg, I loved it. :)
    Got to wonder about using both lorazepam and alprazolam though… Could probably get away with just the Ativan from a symptom point of view. ;)

  • Avatar
    Shinkai Hakimi

    Audry Kahlström Uchenna Ikediobi Roya Roya Hosai ToddHesh Leeda Rashid lol!

  • Avatar
    Cynthia Steimle

    Just read something from our CEO that mentioned how tough it would be for an administrator to round on 10 patients who had been admitted via the ER and ask about their experience. I snorted milk out my nose.

  • Avatar
    Anne Kenny Krueger

    So true….my last 10 years has taken its toll and burnout has tried and keeps tightening its grip

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Lee

    Helen Hwang Robyn Gerdes Jane Yoo Bwahaha boohoo!

  • Avatar
    Diane Maywald Murray

    Funny…but not. No support from management will do this to you :(

  • Avatar
    Megan Lorge

    Jenny Nelson Mandy Friedl

  • Avatar
    Erin Jay Page

    Jade Lauren Porter

  • Avatar
    Erin Jay Page

    Kate Ruby

  • Avatar
    Nida Qadir

    Best one yet. Although it hits a little too close to home.

  • Avatar
    Faryal Michaud

    As a hospitalist who turned to PCM to have a more manageable life, I do get this!!!

  • Avatar
    Vicki Kijewski

    I can’t help but laugh

  • Avatar
    Kimberly Raines

    Not an MD, but I live this every day. :(

  • Avatar
    Sara White Franklin

    You know I am sharing this!!

  • Avatar
    Chrystal Solola

    It’s comforting to know not alone. Something has to give.

  • Avatar
    Karen Hulley

    I’ve been threatening to do this for years….

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Timpe

    Stephanie
    Danielle

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Ensminger

    “Being overworked, understaffed, underappreciated, over-litigated, micromanaged, and the endless charting… Davenport’s expectancy was less than 6 months for sure.”

  • Avatar
    Maureen Rauchet Sestito

    George Seavy this is me….

  • Avatar
    Gena Fouard

    Dear God!! That is so expertly written, I’m a little bit envious of Karen now. (Sad face)

  • Avatar
    Gena Fouard

    Dear God!! That is so expertly written, I’m a little bit envious of Karen now. (Sad face)

  • Avatar
    Amy Helen Getchell

    This is great.

  • Avatar
    Amy Helen Getchell

    This is great.

  • Avatar
    Alan McQuain

    Love this one!

  • Avatar
    Alan McQuain

    Love this one!

  • Avatar
    Camie Wright

    We need to seriously look into this option, because we’re there.

  • Avatar
    Camie Wright

    We need to seriously look into this option, because we’re there.

  • Avatar
    Nancy Sparks Maynard

    This is too funny, and on the mark lol

  • Avatar
    Nancy Sparks Maynard

    This is too funny, and on the mark lol

  • Avatar
    Adrienne Rasbach

    Camie Wright a possible out!

  • Avatar
    Adrienne Rasbach

    Camie Wright a possible out!

  • Avatar
    Crystal Porter

    Jennifer Turner Hokanson Gena Fouard Michelle Fishburn See, we will have to take care of each other eventually. Doomed! :)

  • Avatar
    Crystal Porter

    Jennifer Turner Hokanson Gena Fouard Michelle Fishburn See, we will have to take care of each other eventually. Doomed! :)

  • Avatar
    Lisa Winn Sprouse

    Candice Burnside
    Jennifer Bowles
    Stefanie Long
    Ryan Anderson
    Jeremy-Lauren Cude
    Kelly James

  • Avatar
    Lisa Winn Sprouse

    Candice Burnside
    Jennifer Bowles
    Stefanie Long
    Ryan Anderson
    Jeremy-Lauren Cude
    Kelly James

  • Avatar
    Lynne Horning Holmes

    Me too, Amy!

  • Avatar
    Lynne Horning Holmes

    Me too, Amy!

  • Avatar
    Raymond Broyles McCormick

    But, I still do it like a dumbass cuz I love caring for people.

  • Avatar
    Raymond Broyles McCormick

    But, I still do it like a dumbass cuz I love caring for people.

  • Avatar
    Alison Elizabeth

    Samia Ames can I do this!????

  • Avatar
    Alison Elizabeth

    Samia Ames can I do this!????

  • Avatar
    Tassey Stuscavage

    Oh my goodness. 40 years. I feel this way after 3! Guess I’m doomed!

  • Avatar
    Tassey Stuscavage

    Oh my goodness. 40 years. I feel this way after 3! Guess I’m doomed!

  • Avatar
    Brent Jackson

    Perfect!

  • Avatar
    Brent Jackson

    Perfect!

  • Avatar
    Erin Davis

    Yes, yes, yes.

  • Avatar
    Julia Monaco

    Bahahahaha Jacquelyn Levin Jess Klauder James Alberts Kimberly Heimerdinger

  • Avatar
    Catherine Cox

    Spot on. I’m going to consult one myself now.

  • Avatar
    Hannah Lil’Kim Nicholas

    I’m wrecked still…. I need it this week still as well!

  • Avatar
    Kirsten Hicks Crombie

    The. Best. As a doc’s wife — wish it were possible!

  • Avatar
    Jaci Moser

    Yes x 1,000!!!

  • Avatar
    Yunus Ahmadi

    Frank, so this is what we do with your certification

  • Avatar
    Amy Roberts

    Jaci Moser

  • Avatar
    Betsy Khamdiev

    I’ve had days like that… hilarious

  • Avatar
    Emily Buckthorpe

    Erin Davis

  • Avatar
    Jana Wendel Thornton

    Nurses are no longer nurses, but paperwork generators.

  • Avatar
    Kristin Moudry

    Victoria Strickland Junkin Cassie Raney Clark

  • Avatar
    Melinda Velka

    I’ve definately felt this way a lot lately. Going through severe burnout. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Avatar
    Raymond Broyles McCormick

    I am so done after 40 years of nursing….

  • Avatar
    Lo Ann

    Leeny Kim

  • Avatar
    Matt Luckhurst

    Hannah Lil’Kim Nicholas we needed this last week!

  • Avatar
    Kathleen Lyons O’Bryan

    Making that call tonight!

  • Avatar
    Amy Kimber

    My favorite one yet!

  • Avatar
    Audrey Maminta

    It’s satirical, but true. We’ve lost any control, I’ve felt like this..,,

  • Avatar
    Mischelle Callitsis

    Katie Hayes

  • Avatar
    Morgan Smith

    Despina Isihos

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