Podcast Episode 55 | Sparking Change: How Physician Well-Being Affects Quality of Life

With Dr. Dael Waxman

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The Prosperous Doc® podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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Full Transcript

Dael Waxman (00:00):

It's not a blame game. It's about okay, this is who I am and here's what I have to contribute. How can I mitigate that?

Voiceover (00:08):

From Spaugh Dameron Tenny it's the Prosperous Doc podcast, real stories, real inspiration, real growth. A show for doctors who are ready to improve their overall wellness in every aspect of life. Now here's your host, Shane Tenny.

Shane Tenny (00:27):

Welcome back to the Prosperous Doc podcast. My name is Shane Tenny. And so glad to have you with us today, whether you're working out or driving or doing chores around the house, I'm grateful to have a conversation for you and with you today about a really, really important topic. Physicians have long been seen as healers in our society because of the education and training. They are looked up to as role models for health and wellness. But unfortunately you are often put in positions where you're not able to create the wellness or wellbeing that you want in life.

Shane Tenny (01:07):

And many doctors struggle with working long hours, being short, staffed, encountering systemic industry issues, or experiencing a toxic work environment, all of which can overwhelm and disillusion the most accomplished and passionate leaders. And with stress and burnout on the rise across the country and especially in healthcare, what can be done to help give physicians back their sense of wellbeing? My guess today is Dr. Dael Waxman. Dr. Waxman is a recently retired professor of family medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, and now the founder of Dael Waxman, MD Coaching and Consulting, and an executive coach with MD Coaches. And so he joins me in the studio today to talk about physician wellbeing. Dael thanks so much for being with me today.

Dael Waxman (02:02):

Thank you, Shane. Great to be here.

Shane Tenny (02:04):

So let's start with this topic of kind of your new job. You've gone from a being full-time clinician to now being full-time coach. How did you get into coaching? What makes that so appealing as your next chapter?

Dael Waxman (02:21):

Yeah, a great question. It kind of emerges from my interest in the whole physician wellbeing and burnout piece. I got into that world about 12 years ago in my job at Atrium Health accidentally. I was asked to give a talk on physician burnout long before it was a household term, and I didn't know anything about it. And it really wasn't necessarily an area of interest, but I pursued it. I gave the talk and it just connected with people. And I was asked to do more talks and workshops around that and that kind of built on itself.

Dael Waxman (03:01):

And that led me to the International Conference on Physician Health in Boston in 2016. And while I was there, they had just a few exhibitors at this conference, about seven exhibitors as I recall. Three of them were coaching schools and I went, what's that all about, coaching? And so anyway, in some of the breakout sessions, some of the physicians said, "If you're into physician wellbeing and burnout prevention, you ought to look into coaching." And so I enrolled in a Coaching Institute and learned a lot about coaching from that and learned that it does indeed help kind of inform some of this work in the physician wellbeing world.

Shane Tenny (03:45):

As you researched for the talk that you were going to give back in 2009, I guess part of that just really revealed to you how much of a need there was for help amongst your colleagues on the topic of burnout, wellbeing and things.

Dael Waxman (04:02):

Well, certainly some of the research. But what really triggered it was the responsiveness of the audience. I've given lots of talks over my career that people ask questions and they say, "What are we talking about here?" But what emerged were people's stories. And then a lot of what emerged were people coming up to me afterwards or writing me or talking to me in the doctor's lounge. People who I'd never talked to me before said, "That talk that you gave, that really connected with me. What do I do about it?" So really it was more that the actual interaction both during and after the talks on burnout. You're talking about me right now. And so that's where it kind of triggered it. That's what really fueled it.

Shane Tenny (04:49):

And a lot of your work in coaching has to do with addressing these issues, physician wellbeing, physician wellness, the mental and emotional distress that kind of affects that. Can you tease out the vocabulary for us a little bit? What's the difference between physician wellness, physician wellbeing? What are they, what are they not?

Dael Waxman (05:12):

Sure. Yeah. So both of those terms get used a lot and they get used interchangeably. And what I'm about to say is my own kind of view about how we can differentiate those two. There is research going on in both of these areas. But the way I think about wellness is really it's our state of health and the things that we can do to improve our overall physical and mental health. So for example, and these are all evidence based. For example, we know that 150 minutes of moderate physical activity will reduce our chances of heart attack and stroke. Being at a healthy weight does the same thing. If we drinking alcohol, a moderate amount actually improves our health, but too much, excessive is a negative impact on our health. This objective data, we know that if you're doing these things, you really reduce your risk. For some things increase your risk for others. So it's really objective stuff, stuff that you can easily change.

Dael Waxman (06:10):

Wellbeing is more on the subjective side of things. It's more of a subjective sense of how am I doing? How do I perceive my overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health? One way to illustrate that, the wellbeing part, it was a study that was done over 30 years ago with dialysis patients. And they asked these hundred dialysis patients, how do you perceive your health? Most people know that if you're on dialysis, you usually have not just one chronic illness. You usually have lots of chronic illnesses. It is not easy being a dialysis patient. It is a full time job. It's not easy. Most of us who aren't on dialysis might sort of look at that and go, boy, that's challenging. But they ask these dialysis patients, "How you perceive your health?" And then they follow them over five years.

Dael Waxman (07:02):

And five years later, they relooked at the people who were re-interviewed, those who were still alive. And the ones who had perceived their health highly, they said, "I'm in good health. I am on dialysis, but I'm in good health." They were 50% more likely to be alive five years later than the people who had a sort of a low perception of health. So that's wellbeing. That's a little hard to kind of define that, but that's wellbeing is that my subjective sense of, regardless of the physical maladies, here's how I am.

Dael Waxman (07:37):

So we can have a very low state of wellness, like those dialysis patients. Yet have a high degree of wellbeing. But also vice versa is also true. So we can have an average or high state of wellness at a very low degree of wellbeing. And that's actually what I see a lot in my coaching practice. I have lots of clients who very physically active. They take yoga, they meditate, they get good sleep. They don't smoke. All those good things. And yet their overall whole life is, "I just don't feel good about things," and disillusioned uncomfortable, not great relationships with my family and colleagues and whatever. So does that help differentiate the two?

Shane Tenny (08:26):

I think it makes total sense that in some ways I'm almost hearing what you're saying is saying, if I feel there's a deficiency in my wellness, I might need to talk to a nutritionist or a trainer or something like this. But that wellbeing is my perception of how I'm doing in my soul almost.

Dael Waxman (08:43):


Shane Tenny (08:43):

And I guess given all that medical providers are facing these days between the pandemic which we've endured, or at least the worst of it, perhaps we think is behind us, but then just the stresses of being in practice and medical records and medical system pressures and contracts and things like that. What can physicians do to improve or to impact their sense of wellbeing?

Dael Waxman (09:10):

Yeah. Great question. And I'm sure there are some listeners who are sort of like, "If they tell me to be resilient one more time, I'm going to hurt somebody." And it's not going to do another yoga course. That's not going to take a lot of that stuff away. So I will say to answer that is that there are still paying attention to wellbeing, even though there are all these external things going on around you, there are some ways to do that, which I can talk about right now about how to improve that overall sense of wellbeing.

Dael Waxman (09:44):

But before I get into that, I mean, the reason to do that is there's a few different reasons. One is that I have a better perception of how I am navigating through the world. I will have better relationships with the people that I'm working with, the patients and my family, but also it may lead you to realize maybe this isn't the right situation for me. Maybe I need to change my situation so that my whole life is doing better.

Dael Waxman (10:12):

So there is this saying in the business of work life balance, which I don't like, because work is part of your life. And so I always look at the whole life part of this. So let me just say, there's a couple of models of wellbeing. The one that I draw the most from is from University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Seligman who really advanced this whole concept of positive psychology. And there's a thing called the PERMA model, P-E-R-M-A and each one of those stands for something to cultivate. And I do workshops around this. Do you want me to go through that?

Shane Tenny (10:55):

Yeah. Well, now that you've thrown down the acronym, I'm curious what it stands for.

Dael Waxman (10:59):

Sure. So P stands for positive emotions and it's basically cultivating a sense of feeling good. And there's easy ways to do this. So, you could sort of reflect on what went well today, but not just what went well today, but what was my part in having that go well today? That's also transmitted into something called gratitude journals, which you may have heard of. That's what the gratitude journal is. You reflect on the day, not just what went well, but what did I do to make that go well. That's one way to cultivate positive emotions. The E part is engagement, which is also known as flow. So all of us can relate to an activity where we get absorbed in it and we lose total track of time. Whatever that is, it could be a hobby. It might be your work. It might be reading. You get so focused and so absorbed in something that I thought it was only an hour, but it's four hours later.

Dael Waxman (12:02):

When I was a fellow, I used to do dark room photography. And I said, "I'm just going to go down the dark room for a couple hours." I came back up eight hours later. It's like, wow. So we all know what that feels like. And so to cultivate that is to identify what are those things in your life that bring engagement and flow? And then do more of them and just find ways, carve out time to do that.

Dael Waxman (12:24):

The R is relationship. It's basically positive relationship and it's being authentically connected to others. So this is also about cultivating positive relationships. It's also about recognizing when a relationship is not positive for you. It actually pulls energy from you and finding ways to either mitigate that or to not be in that relationship. So cultivating positive relationship. One of the ways that I suggest people do that is to reflect on a professional or personal relationship and think about what is it that you add to that relationship that brings back something positive. And what is it that comes back positive as a result?

Dael Waxman (13:09):

The M is meaning, and this is a pretty significant one. And meaning is what you are about, what you are doing, especially professionally. Is it meaningful? Is it part of your purpose? Is it part of your path? And there are ways to kind of cultivate that. There are lots of different exercises, like visualizations that you can do to understand is what I am doing, is this bringing meaning to my life? And I'll come back to that later, if we can talk about what systems can do as well.

Dael Waxman (13:44):

And then finally, the A is achievement. And this is one that physicians have a hard time doing, but it's really just about celebrating a success, celebrating something that you did that was an achievement. That was something that you were able to accomplish. And everybody can do this. All of your listeners can do this. You may take for granted the things that you do and just say, "Well, that's just part of my job. That's what I do." But, for somebody else, that might be very significant and you need to recognize that what you did actually made a difference in somebody's life. And so celebrate that, celebrate your achievements, even if there's little small things. So that's PERMA, that's the model that I mostly use.

Shane Tenny (14:29):

As you describe each one of these attributes, and I was writing down as you were going here, but I think about the E and the R. The engagement with things that give you life and the R, relationships. I guess what occurs to me is no wonder COVID has been so catastrophic for our collective psyche. And for those in medicine, you not only were at the front lines of the stress through your profession, but our society was shut down, making it harder to form new or cultivate existing relationships or pursue many types of engagement or hobbies or things like this. And so you're just almost literally just kind of burning the wick at both ends over these last couple years. And I suppose it's been a time when those that need a resource like you to talk to and help navigate through our own psychology has been just invaluable.

Dael Waxman (15:29):

Yeah, I would agree. I think the last couple of years has drawn us away from a lot of these pieces of wellbeing. And in some cases it has drawn some people to recognize how important some of those parts are in their life. The other part about being away from each other made people realize how important relationships were. And so even though it wasn't in person, you heard about people and we did in my own family, all of a sudden I'm on Zoom calls with my three brothers. And we never did that before, and we never were in the same town, except when we were younger. So there's something about that there's some positives that happen there as well, but you're absolutely right. I think people got really, really cut off from each other and cut off from the things that do give them a sense of joy, meaning and purpose as well.

Shane Tenny (16:24):

Yeah, and so much, I think in just perhaps it's our society in general or business in particular where this notion of, I'm thinking of Steven Covey's famous book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And I think the first principle is just sharpen the saw. Coming from kind of the picture of somebody sawing trees all day, that if you don't stop to sharpen the saw you're using, it makes the work so much more difficult. But it's valuable to stop and sharpen the saw. I'm sure many people listening are familiar with that. But in society it's not valued or it's often not valued to stop and care for yourself, or to block yourself out of work or say, "No I'm unavailable," or those sorts of things to either think or care for your own emotions or pursue a hobby or pursue relationships. Instead you need to always be available or always willing to serve or volunteer or whatever. And even good opportunities can be harmful to our own psyche if they're not intentionally pursued.

Dael Waxman (17:31):

So you bring up a great point and that's true for a lot of people, especially true for physicians. This issue of, again, compassion, most people enter medical school being pretty compassionate and kind, very interested in making a difference in humankind and that's a high value. And so that's something that's very meaningful. And so it's very easy for physicians and other healthcare professionals, I don't want to exclude nursing, even easier to put everybody else before myself. So there's that one last patient, even though I was supposed to go to my son's softball game. There's a pull to do that and not to be attending to those parts of wellbeing. And so that's tough. It's a trait that a lot of us carry into this culture.

Shane Tenny (18:23):

Yeah. And I think so helpful too, because both are true. There is a patient who needs you and there is a child, a son's soccer game who needs you. And so to be able to emotionally and mentally kind of process or anticipate and think through those sorts of things with a coach and a situation like yours. Okay, how do I acknowledge the reality of both of these, but also care for the one that is of most important while not completely dismissing the patient? So maybe that means we need to be more proactive in managing the schedule or the calendar or working with our staff. Let's not schedule a patient at 4:45 if that's the day I need to leave early. Those sorts of things.

Dael Waxman (19:02):

Exactly. You just said it.

Shane Tenny (19:05):

You alluded a minute ago to kind of just the role that healthcare systems can play in this. And so I want to kind of unpack that with you right after this break.

Shane Tenny (19:18):

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Shane Tenny (20:35):

So Dael, you mentioned before the break, just the wellbeing that is so meaningful and healthy for physicians for their own wellbeing and wellness, but also for their patients is influenced significantly by the system that they operate in. And certainly many primary care physicians and frontline workers are often part of a larger healthcare system, as opposed to being a private practice specialist or something like that. Can you start to unpack a little bit of the impact that the healthcare system has and the role they have in helping to foster a sense of wellbeing amongst their providers?

Dael Waxman (21:15):

Sure. Let me start by just saying, I know that you've had shows about burnout and I want to just say something about the definition of burnout. A way to define burnout is that it is a burnout. It happens when there's a mismatch between the individual factors that a person brings to the system they work in and the system factors of that system. So if I am an individual who likes a lot of autonomy and I do a certain kind of work and I join a company that they're really into team, that's not a good fit. That's a mismatch for me. So I want to start there because it is both. It's both. It's both the individual, as well as the system. It's real easy to blame the system. The system, by the way, isn't just the healthcare system.

Dael Waxman (22:09):

There's a lot of other layers now beyond the healthcare system, including some regulatory issues, as well as insurance, healthcare payer issues as well. So having said that, there is this mismatch, there's a possibility of a mismatch. Having said all that, over the last 20 years or so much more of burnout is because of systems factors and not as much individual factors. The main person who studied burnout, Christina Maslak said back when she started and she defined burnout back when she started, it was predominantly individual issues that were a problem for burnout. And now she would say it's by far, especially in healthcare, mostly systems issues.

Shane Tenny (22:55):

Let me interrupt you there for just a minute, because I think this is something that at least I want to take a minute or two on. You're totally right. Through the conversations we've had on this show with other providers. I'm thinking of the conversation I had with like Drummond last year on burnout. There certainly is plenty of ire and perhaps blame to be put on the system, but there are decisions and there are factors that contribute to burnout that are within the decision making of the physician. Can you talk a little bit about what are some of those things that we just bring on ourselves that contributes to the sense of anxiety, stress, burnout, disillusionment?

Dael Waxman (23:32):

Yeah. So when I give this talk, I talk about common traits that physicians bring to this world. And we tend to be Type A. We tend to be perfectionistic. We tend to be compulsive. We tend to, as I've already said, to be more others oriented before ourselves. And so there's that kind of combination that you bring to something that is imperfect, such as health and illness and disease, is already a setup for this could not go well. There's going to be point at which when things don't go well, if I'm a perfectionist and all physicians, we start looking at ourselves first. What did I do? What did I do? So one of the ways that we get burnt out is because we can be so obsessive, so compulsive, so perfectionistic that we just keep looking for the answers.

Dael Waxman (24:35):

And we ruminate. We carry that with us and we go home. And when we go to bed and we can't let it go. So that's one of the traits that can happen. If we are overly available, we get used up. We're not available for our friends. We're not available for our family. We're not available to ourselves. And so those are all traits that, yeah, I mean, patients want those in their physicians. I want a perfectionistic doctor and I want somebody who will answer to my beck and call whenever. And yet those traits that we maybe even have some blind spots about those traits that we have. Those are all great setups for problems for burnout down the road.

Shane Tenny (25:20):

Good point. I didn't know where you were going to go with the answer to my own question, but I feel the word boundaries in a lot of your answer. Just being able to with your own internal integrity, form healthy boundaries around yourself so that you're not depleted or over consumed or things like that. So we can move where I was I think taking the conversation back to the system. But I think it's important just before we just throw stones at all the external factors, many of which, in fact, we don't control. Don't miss the chance to look inside and see what might you be doing or what could you do to improve your own sense of wellbeing.

Dael Waxman (25:57):

I'm really glad you asked because it's really easy. First of all, it's very easy for humans to have external locus of control. It's not me. It's the system, it's the company that I work for. That's actually a lot of what I do in coaching is what are you bringing to this? And it's not a blame game. It's about okay, this is who I am and here's what I have to contribute. How can I mitigate that?

Dael Waxman (26:21):

So you had a fantastic guest on your show back in November, Paula Davis, who articulated very well, these six root causes that drive burnout at the organizational level. And so addressing those issues would be ways that systems can assist. So those root causes, just to remind you were lack of flexibility, lack of flexibility in scheduling, the unmanageable workload, which is probably the number one complaint of physicians right now. This lack of community, a lack of sense of that we're all a team together, that we are supporting one another. We have a sense of belonging and that we have a single mission. A sense of unfairness is one of the root causes that drives it. So that if there's some inequities in the system of values, disconnect, I'm working for this company, but they're kind of doing this thing. That's not quite my values.

Dael Waxman (27:22):

And then finally a lack of recognition and I'm going to give my own little asterisk to that is authentic recognition. This is sort of the yes, everybody deserves a trophy, to some degree. But there can be too much you're doing a great job, if it's not really filled with authenticity. Really sort of articulated a story about how that person made a difference, then it can be kind of an empty sense of recognition. So those are the root causes.

Shane Tenny (27:58):

So what can you do about it? We're establishing they're outside our control. And by the way, I think it was episode 49 for those of listeners who want to go listen to the interview we did with Paula. Those are the things that are out of your control and that are so contributing to this sense of burnout or stealing the sense of wellbeing. What can be done?

Dael Waxman (28:19):

So what can be done on the system level?

Shane Tenny (28:22):


Dael Waxman (28:22):

What should symptoms be paying attention to? So one thing is to be paying attention to those six root causes. But I think Dr. Tate Shanafelt, who's probably done more work than anybody in the country around burnout. What he will say is if you just sort of have a "Let's throw spaghetti against the wall. We're going to look at all six of these." That's not going to be helpful either. So what organizations should do is assess. At Mayo and now he's at Stanford. Also they assess, assess, assess because different segments of the system, they do really well in one of those six root causes, but they're not in some certain other areas. So assess your organization's situation. And there are some assessment tools and Paula Davis has some in her book as well.

Dael Waxman (29:11):

There are some ways to assess in this particular part of the organization, here's what we need to do. Over here we need to be doing this. And then prioritize where to focus the energies. I'll give you a good example of the flexibility one that I really like. There was a medical director up in Minnesota who also is doing some work on burnout. He is a medical director of a clinic in addition to some other things that he did. And he just said it starts with listening. This is what you do very well, Shane. He started listening. He brought the whole team together. And he said, "What's most stressful for you all right now?" And what he learned was not what he was expecting.

Dael Waxman (29:51):

He said what's most stressful was for the parents who have to go pick up the kid from daycare, finishing up their day so they don't get charged the $10 a minute, after they're too late to pick up their kids. And so they said, "Well, what can we do about that?" Well, what they came up with within less than an hour, the team, not him, what they came up with was if we can do some flexible scheduling so that those who have to pick up their kids from daycare can start earlier and then finish earlier, they could then go pick up their kids. They don't have to feel stressed about it. They're done hands down at least an hour before they have to pick up their kids. And the others said, "Yeah, that's fine. I'll come in later. I feel better about that anyway, because that way I can get my kids off to school," or whatever that is. It's a nice little story of how just a small group, even within a large organization, they were in a large organization, embrace that concept of flexibility.

Shane Tenny (30:48):

It's a great example because so often the solutions are about 90% listening and 10% cost. Instead of the fear that a lot of leaders have that to address something is going to be 90% cost or some big expensive thing. And so it does take the commitment and the willingness to stop and ask the question then listen. But so often in my experience and in the stories you're sharing and things like that, there are solutions that are available that don't require kind of rebuilding the whole machine or huge budget changes.

Dael Waxman (31:27):

Right. Exactly. The other one I want to mention is kind of a shout out to some small groups. They're not part of large healthcare systems, although you can do these in small groups as well. One of the groups that I consulted with, they came to me because they had a very clear intention of we're starting a new practice. And we want that sense of balance in our practice before they even opened. And they said, "How do we do this? How do we make sure that we don't get burned out?" Because the two practitioners were burned out from before.

Dael Waxman (31:58):

And so they were intentional about this. How can we make sure that we're being intentional? And what we arrived on was what's most meaningful in their work? As a group, what is most meaningful and how do we prioritize what is most meaningful? And then how will you keep coming back and making sure that you're continuing to attend to that and to be intentional about that? And so they do. They have it built into their system to touch base with not just how are we doing productivity wise, but how are we doing? How are we doing with our mission of bringing meaning to the work that we do and the work that we do for our patients?

Shane Tenny (32:39):

And what's that conversation like? I'm curious. What are some of the results to this question of how are we doing or what makes us so meaningful, other than just positively impacting our patients' health?

Dael Waxman (32:52):

Well, I have to ask that particular group, but I imagine that when they say, "How are we doing?" Because they started this and they recruited carefully. The people that they work with together as a team, they created a sense of safety where people can talk about, "This isn't working for me." And so what I imagine is happening in that group is that when they say, "How are we doing?" "Overall pretty good, but here's where I need some help. And this isn't going well for me, because I wanted to get out to go pick up my kid from daycare. How can we work around that?" There is this sense of teamness to, we are prioritizing the balance of our work with the rest of our life. And so, because that's our highest priority, we're going to sit down and work it out right now. And not just you two go talk about it and figure it out. That's my sense of what happens in that group.

Shane Tenny (33:46):

What things about the future of medicine give you concerns and what things make you hopeful?

Dael Waxman (33:52):

Yeah. So the things that make me hopeful are, and it's going to answer one of your other questions is there's more and more awareness about the issues that all of us in healthcare are experiencing that create unwellness or unwell being. And there is work happening at very high levels of reducing that workload burden, which I mentioned a little bit earlier. There is work happening to reduce that, to improve the sense of team and engagement and the recognition that we can't. Sometimes you have to tell people, "You have to go home, even though you want to be here right now." And so there is a recognition. There's more and more recognition of that. And I think that from that we will have more and more models of the kind of group that I just talked about before.

Dael Waxman (34:43):

What makes me pessimistic is more on the healthcare economics and political level. I really think that we're still pretty mired in a very fragmented health, I'm going to say non-system. I don't think it really is a system. But it's very fragmented. And because of that fragmentation, it makes it very difficult for people to navigate through, increasingly for the providers who are trying to help with patients navigate through too as well. The fact that the same insurance company changes their benefits from year to year is just a small example of how challenging that is. I don't see that changing anytime soon though. I want it to change. I don't see that changing any time soon. That makes things really challenging. The layers of complexity continue to increase at the same time are recognizing the impact that has on the individuals who are having to carry that out.

Shane Tenny (35:41):

There's no question. It seems that the physicians of tomorrow are needing to either bring with them into the profession or develop a different skill set than the physicians of yesterday in terms of adaptability and certainly the technology use and things like that. But there's a different requirement to continue to care for themselves and care for patients in the coming system.

Dael Waxman (36:10):

Yeah. I agree.

Shane Tenny (36:12):

All right. So last question I'll ask you for the day. And that is your career has been one of huge impact on your patients, the system you were in, your colleagues. All of us have accomplished so much based on the shoulders of those who've gone before us. And so my question to you is "Who would you like to shout out? Who has been most impactful or is in your mind this minute in terms of just your career and what you've accomplished that you'd like to give a little shout out here?

Dael Waxman (36:43):

Yeah, so there's two. The one that most comes to my mind is actually a mentor who is still a mentor. His name is Dr. Rick Kellerman. He was the family doc in Plainville, Kansas when I went to the University of Kansas. And as a medical student, we all got shipped out to rural communities for a month or two and just hung out. And Rick was the person who I hung out with and he taught me way more about medicine than I learned through the rest of medical school, about some of the things that you and I are talking about. How to have a fulfilling life, how to do what's meaningful and how to be really, really present with patients. He's still a mentor. He's one of the ones who noted how lit up I was. And I was talking about doing this wellbeing work because you're just lighting up. I said, "Yeah, I guess I should do more of that." So he's a mentor.

Dael Waxman (37:33):

The other one is actually lots of people and those are my learners. So I've taught medical students and residents and fellows for over 30 years. I just have to say in the stage of my life, they inspired me. I mean, I realize they may see that they're standing on my shoulders, but there's a whole lot that I learned from them. Not just the medicine, just about life and about how to coach people and how to mentor and to be inspired by what they're going through. That's one of the things I'm optimistic about. The current group of residents that I've had the opportunity to work with really inspire me. They just really inspire me.

Shane Tenny (38:16):

That is excellent. I love both those answers and so grateful for the work that you're doing and the impact on our community and society in the field of medicine. Dr. Dael Waxman, thanks for being with me today to talk about physician wellbeing.

Dael Waxman (38:31):

Thank you, Shane.

Shane Tenny (38:32):

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast. As Dael mentioned, and I interjected there earlier, if you haven't listened to the interview I did with Paula Davis, I think it's episode 49. And it was definitely a great conversation as well. So you can listen to that. If you have any suggestions for topics or guests that you think we ought to have on the show, I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly Shane@whitecoatwell.com. You can find us on all social media channels and as always, we welcome your reviews on iTunes and Google Play. I know all the podcast hosts say that, but it really helps us in the rankings so that when your colleagues are searching for podcasts on wellbeing or burnout or any of the other topics we've discussed, then the Prosperous Doc podcast will rise to the top. Thanks so much for being with us. And I'll see you back here next time.

Voiceover (39:24):

This episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast is over, but you're not alone on your journey. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists prosper through financial planning for over 60 years. To connect with us, visit SDTplanning.com today and take your financial wellness to new levels. Join us on the next episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast.