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

  • Joseph Mack

    Hilarious and unfortunately so reflective of the reality.

  • Brian Belanger

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

  • Sally Grace

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

  • Nisha Ramsinghani

    Ka R Thik Sindhura Reddy

  • Tina Grace

    Sally Grace

  • Stephanie Varga

    Sign me up!

  • Terry N Teresa Rolan

    Absolutely brilliant idea!

  • Dana Cravens

    It is about quality of life after all.

  • Susan M. Penick

    One of the best stories yet!

  • Carol Rosenberg

    This is my life!!

  • Stephanie Jacobs Bordner

    Love this!

  • Leslie Fontenot

    Hahahah!! Thanks Jenn for the laugh!

  • Chloe Ayres

    so true :(

  • Leucine Evelyn

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

  • Hannah Querin

    Leucine Evelyn this one is a cracker

  • Hannah Querin

    Leucine Evelyn this one is a cracker

  • Leeda Rashid

    I’ve already put in advanced directives…lol.

  • Leeda Rashid

    I’ve already put in advanced directives…lol.

  • Meg Gustafson Dexter

    Loy lol

  • Meg Gustafson Dexter

    Loy lol

  • June Rolph

    Lol

  • Liza Raymond

    Paperless work. Lol

  • Elizabeth Maxwell

    Chloe Ayres this is us! Halfway there on the Ativan

  • Erica Ledesma

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

  • Theresa Terri Higginbotham-Torretti

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

  • Melanie Bernstein

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

  • 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. ;)

  • Shinkai Hakimi

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

  • 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.

  • Anne Kenny Krueger

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

  • Jennifer Lee

    Helen Hwang Robyn Gerdes Jane Yoo Bwahaha boohoo!

  • Diane Maywald Murray

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

  • Megan Lorge

    Jenny Nelson Mandy Friedl

  • Erin Jay Page

    Jade Lauren Porter

  • Erin Jay Page

    Kate Ruby

  • Nida Qadir

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

  • Faryal Michaud

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

  • Vicki Kijewski

    I can’t help but laugh

  • Kimberly Raines

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

  • Sara White Franklin

    You know I am sharing this!!

  • Chrystal Solola

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

  • Karen Hulley

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

  • Jennifer Timpe

    Stephanie
    Danielle

  • Jennifer Ensminger

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

  • Maureen Rauchet Sestito

    George Seavy this is me….

  • Gena Fouard

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

  • Gena Fouard

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

  • Amy Helen Getchell

    This is great.

  • Amy Helen Getchell

    This is great.

  • Alan McQuain

    Love this one!

  • Alan McQuain

    Love this one!

  • Camie Wright

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

  • Camie Wright

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

  • Nancy Sparks Maynard

    This is too funny, and on the mark lol

  • Nancy Sparks Maynard

    This is too funny, and on the mark lol

  • Adrienne Rasbach

    Camie Wright a possible out!

  • Adrienne Rasbach

    Camie Wright a possible out!

  • Crystal Porter

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

  • Crystal Porter

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

  • Lisa Winn Sprouse

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

  • Lisa Winn Sprouse

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

  • Lynne Horning Holmes

    Me too, Amy!

  • Lynne Horning Holmes

    Me too, Amy!

  • Raymond Broyles McCormick

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

  • Raymond Broyles McCormick

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

  • Alison Elizabeth

    Samia Ames can I do this!????

  • Alison Elizabeth

    Samia Ames can I do this!????

  • Tassey Stuscavage

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

  • Tassey Stuscavage

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

  • Brent Jackson

    Perfect!

  • Brent Jackson

    Perfect!

  • Erin Davis

    Yes, yes, yes.

  • Julia Monaco

    Bahahahaha Jacquelyn Levin Jess Klauder James Alberts Kimberly Heimerdinger

  • Catherine Cox

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

  • Hannah Lil’Kim Nicholas

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

  • Kirsten Hicks Crombie

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

  • Jaci Moser

    Yes x 1,000!!!

  • Yunus Ahmadi

    Frank, so this is what we do with your certification

  • Amy Roberts

    Jaci Moser

  • Betsy Khamdiev

    I’ve had days like that… hilarious

  • Emily Buckthorpe

    Erin Davis

  • Jana Wendel Thornton

    Nurses are no longer nurses, but paperwork generators.

  • Kristin Moudry

    Victoria Strickland Junkin Cassie Raney Clark

  • Melinda Velka

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

  • Raymond Broyles McCormick

    I am so done after 40 years of nursing….

  • Lo Ann

    Leeny Kim

  • Matt Luckhurst

    Hannah Lil’Kim Nicholas we needed this last week!

  • Kathleen Lyons O’Bryan

    Making that call tonight!

  • Amy Kimber

    My favorite one yet!

  • Audrey Maminta

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

  • Mischelle Callitsis

    Katie Hayes

  • Morgan Smith

    Despina Isihos

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