Coinciding with the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, many noticed a trend in workers simply leaving their workplace. Initially, many of these workers were younger, less-experienced employees, primarily in low-skill jobs such as the food service and retail industries. However, as 2022 brings us even nearer to a recession, many knowledge workers are beginning to resign as well, especially those in the finance and tech industries, as they are drawn to embrace meaning, flexibility, and other lifestyle factors that have become increasingly more valuable.
One psychological factor that is likely contributing to “The Great Resignation” would be the concept of Mortality Salience. Over the past two years, we have come face-to-face with the specter of death and disability at levels that have exceeded anything young and relatively healthy people have had to face in recent decades. Suddenly life is more precious and time a vanishing commodity. People are asking themselves for the first time,” is this how I want to live out the rest of my days?” And for many, the answer is a resounding No.
So, what about physicians? As highly skilled knowledge workers, physicians have enjoyed a high level of respect and prestige in their communities for decades, but suddenly that pedestal seems to be shortening. People are losing faith in both for-profit and nonprofit healthcare centers, and in science in general. They have long been questioning the value and intention of big pharma and that lack of trust is now starting to extend to physicians as well. Rather than autonomous and caring, physicians can be seen as pawns in the for-profit healthcare systems, and patients are asking for more from their healthcare providers. Patients need their physicians to be able to take the time to listen, to be empathetic to their fears and beliefs, and to support them in their health journey. And so, the question remains, for physicians to find meaning in their profession and to earn back the trust of patients and the community: should they resign?
The Great Relocation
Rather than abandon the practice of medicine completely, providers should consider creating their ideal mix of remote work opportunities and independent tele-driven practice. Rather than a “Great Resignation” from their careers, they should consider a Great Relocation.
For myself, it was more of a “Great Reimagining.” In 2016, I was completely burned out working for a for-profit Urgent Care center. I was being pushed to see more and more patients every day and reprimanded when patients complained about not receiving their desired prescriptions. At that same time, I had a friend who worked as a consultant who spent all of her time traveling to and living in other countries. She was exploring the world and living a rich and fulfilling life, while I felt that I was completely tied to a physical space for my profession. When I really thought about what I wanted for my life, I knew that going into a clinic for 12 hours per day, prescribing antibiotics and painkillers, and arguing with the owners of the clinic was not it. I wasn’t sure how a clinical practice would look if it was delivered virtually, but I decided to reimagine what life could look like, if I went entirely remote with my patient care. And I never looked back.
Why Go Remote?
As pandemic provisions for Telehealth start to sunset, large healthcare centers may start to cut back on the ability for providers to choose remote work. Like Elon Musk at Tesla, they may simply tell their providers to either come back or find work elsewhere.
Providers who had experience with telehealth may find themselves not wanting to return to an office. While working remotely, they may have enjoyed a more flexible schedule and more time with family. A return to the office setting may in and of itself lead to increased stress and anxiety, as well as burnout. Providers need to realize that they have a choice – that health systems need us more than we need them and that there are a lot of opportunities to serve patients where they are, while living your best life.
One option may include expanding your licensing and opening yourself up to booking gig jobs with multiple telehealth companies that align with your personal care manifesto. There are currently hundreds of telehealth companies looking to hire experienced providers, and ViTel Health can help you manage your credentials, log-ins, and schedule for a seamless booking experience. ViTel can also help to ensure that, as a physician, you get paid for your time at a rate that respects the level of highly specialized knowledge and skill(s) you possess as a physician. At ViTel you set your rate and employers book and pay instantly for engagements.
Another option providers should consider is starting their own tele-driven direct care practice, as part of the ViTel Health cooperative. At ViTel, we believe that we can and should move the control over the practice of medicine, from large healthcare centers back to individual providers. We are reimagining the personal physician for the digital age.
Telehealth is Here to Stay
And it’s only going to keep growing. A practice centered on digital health allows for greater freedom and autonomy. A provider can be geographically independent, travel, and/or spend more time with family, while making a significantly greater impact on the patients they serve – all while lowering their risk of burnout.
ViTel Health is here to help you create a practice of “Quality over Quantity!”