As Good as the First Time

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps back from burnout in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Originally published October 28th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 7 – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.


As good as the first time

Our work is not necessarily doing what we “know.”  Our work is to take off the blinders of our experience, of what we think we know, and see the world with fresh eyes and an open heart. – Dr. Frank

“To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
-Dr. Shaun Marier

Even when things are good, we all want more. We’re all looking for more satisfaction in our work, our health, our finances and our relationships. We believe things could be better. The question is: How do we get what we believe we can have? What work do we need to do to get what we really want?

In our business, experience is a great teacher. As we gain experience, we come to recognize which patients require critical attention and when we need to act quickly. We believe we know how best to handle things. We become less and less open to new ideas or techniques. In our case, experience can be dangerous because it limits us, especially when we think we know best.

When we apply what we think should work to our present situation and we do not get the results we want, we complain and long for “the good old days.” We say life was simpler then, better, more predictable and easier. We say the system is broken now. We dream about what could have been and we resign ourselves to settling for less, for what is rather than what could be.

Think about what it was like when we were younger and had big dreams. We were ready to take on any challenge to change the world. We weren’t discouraged by what was “impossible.” When we wanted something, we put our nose to the grindstone and did whatever it took to make it happen. The diploma, the car, the girl, the job – we got it and it felt great! Yes, we made mistakes along the way, but we ultimately got what we wanted by continually changing our formula until we were successful.

Most of us now have what we thought we wanted, but we are left wanting more. We find ourselves wondering: Is this all there is? Is this as good as it gets?

We think we know what “should” work. But our old formula isn’t working in our present situation, leaving us feeling frustrated and blaming other people and circumstances for our lack of satisfaction. So we fall into a rut and no matter how hard we work, nothing seems to change. Nothing seems to get better and we can’t seem to find the “more” from life that we want.

Maybe, just maybe, we are doing the wrong work. Truth be told, the system does work – and if we are not getting the results we want, there must be something wrong with our now outdated formula.

If what we are doing isn’t working for us anymore, it’s time for change. If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times; if we do not have what we want out of life, we simply are not doing the work we need to do to get it. Our work is not necessarily just doing what we “know.” Our work is also to continually take off the blinders of our experience, of what we think we know, and to see the world with fresh eyes and an open heart.

Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. When we are continually feeling frustrated in dealing with others, we just have to choose to stop and let go of whatever it is we automatically say or do, and choose instead to look for a way to respond differently.

Get your copy of "Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care" at amazon.com

Get your copy of “Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care” at amazon.com

We need to let our desire for more, for something better, lead us to continually re-create a new personal formula that works for us right now and gets us what we want. When we do this, it is like getting it for the very first time, and there is nothing sweeter than this kind of success!  Br recognizing what’s not working and changing our formula until it does, we become the cause of something better for ourselves and those around us.

TAKE ACTION

Today, let go of what you think you know; what is familiar, what is comfortable! Loosen your grip and open your hands so that you can grab something new, novel,  unprecedented and much better.

Be willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want. Engage all of your wisdom, your insight, your desire for more, your resourcefulness and your power and inject it into what you are doing. BE OPEN to doing it differently. Use a new approach or a different tactic.

Experience and engage with your relationships, your work, your finances or your health as if it was for the very first time. There is absolutely nothing better when you see (y)our world with new eyes!

Make this a new day, a fresh week, an innovative month, and your best year ever!  Make right now just like “the good old days.”

All the best!
Dr. Frank

 

Growing Love

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps back from burnout in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Originally published August 3rd, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 7 -TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.


By continually appreciating our pets, our partners, our friends, our families, our jobs, our co-workers and even ourselves, we not only experience the original love we felt, we make it grow! – Dr. Frank

Make it grow

Many foods that are made with certain combinations of fat, sugar and salt, actually activate the narcotic (endorphin) centers in the frontal lobe of our brain. This is why our favorite snacks are so totally addictive!  But, with each bite after the first one of that Oreo cookie or chocolate cake, the narcotic center in our brain go through an adaptation process that makes it so that we never experience a high as intense as the first bite. Over time, we need more [insert your addiction here] to get the same high.

This is also the reason why children can lose interest in the puppy they begged to have. A child falls in love with the puppy and promises to love it and care for it always, but then each time she looks at the puppy, the process of adaptation occurs and she experiences less dopamine release in the pre-frontal cortex. In short, that initial high or excitement she got from her puppy begins to fade. The same is true for everyone and everything, animate and inanimate, even in our adult lives.

Fortunately there is an antidote we can use to switch off our automatic system that fades our satisfaction, it is called APPRECIATION.  When we stop and recognize the good qualities of something or someone, or even when we just let ourselves feel the pleasure of their presence, we inject positive energy into our system that reignites our pleasure centers. Even better, by continually appreciating our pets, our partners, our friends, our families, our jobs, our co-workers and even ourselves, we not only experience the original love we felt, we make it grow!

Get your copy of "Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care" at amazon.com

Get your copy of “Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care” at amazon.com

TAKE ACTION

This week, make your LOVE GROW!

Take a fresh look at everyone and everything around you. Look for ways to inject appreciation into every relationship in your life, new and old. Speak words such as “Hello, how are you?”, “Thank you,” “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” “You are wonderful” and “I understand.”

Appreciation can help us to reawaken the spark of our original desire and to reactivate our compassion in all our day-to-day encounters. This is how we can grow the love and satisfaction we get from giving care.

Best ever,

Dr. Frank

 

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps back from burnout in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Originally published June 30th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 5 -EVALUATE your results. Recognize what you bring to the encounter. Is your giving care effective? If not, go to step six and begin again.


 

SOS CLASSIC Keep it Simple

“Sometimes, in order to impact the world in a profound way, all we need to do is say hi, please, I’m sorry or stand up and walk away. Sometimes all we have to do is extend our hand in friendship, wrap our arms around someone who is terrified and in despair, or just simply smile. Our interpersonal world of human encounters is, at its core, really quite simple.” – Dr. Frank

Keep it simple stupid

Geez-Louise! There are seven charts in the “to be seen rack” and the department and triage are full. The helicopter will be here in 12 minutes. Does it ever stop?

Welcome to summertime in the Emergency Department. From now until September, it’s non-stop busy 24/7. Already, I can barely keep up. Everyone in my department is working as hard as they can. No slackers here. But no matter how good our intentions are, no matter how much compassion, tolerance, kindness and efficiency we deliver, it is just not enough.

There are triage forms, medication reconciliations, registration documents, advance directives, allergies, physical exams and diagnosis to create and consider. There are IV medications, X-rays, CAT scans, labs and ultrasounds to do; splints to apply, stitches to place, prescriptions to write and discharge instructions to prepare.

There is the man having an ST-Elevation heart attack who we are preparing to go to the heart cath lab. There is the guy next to him who insists that he is having a heart attack too, even though his EKG and his blood tests say otherwise. And of course, there’s the man causing a huge ruckus out in triage because he refuses to talk to anyone and demands to speak to a doctor immediately!

In the summertime, the sheer volume of negativity that surrounds us at work can be unbelievable. It can sometimes leave us feeling like we are ineffective. We get frustrated and feel a lack of satisfaction, even though we are doing incredible, important, sacred work.

During times like these, when life is the most complicated, I’ve learned to just keep it simple stupid.

Just breathe

Recently, I called a specialist at around 5AM regarding one of his very complicated patients. I introduced myself and told him about the situation. The first thing he said to me was, “Gawd, you must have had an awful night; I can hear it in your voice.”  He then invited me to take a deep breath and just let it all go. When I was done, he went on to tell me exactly what to do with his patient. When he finished, he told me that I had done a great job, thanked me for helping, and instructed me to do something nice for myself when I left the hospital.

We have complicated systems, complicated problems, and complicated ideas. Many times there are no obvious answers. In the midst of chaos, sometimes all we really need to do is take a deep breath and and look for the simple things we can do so that we can find the simple answer.

Sometimes, in order to impact the world in a profound way, all we need to do is say hi, please, I’m sorry or stand up and walk away. Sometimes all we have to do is extend our hand in friendship, wrap our arms around someone who is terrified and in despair, or just simply smile.  Our interpersonal world of human encounters is, at its core, really quite simple.

Yet somehow we can get tangled up in a complicated reality where it seems impossible to find the feel-good satisfaction that kindness, care, compassion, understanding and tolerance produce. Our objective, especially in times like this summer of chaos, is to take all of the complicated stuff we are dealing with and put it into perspective so that we can simplify our situation.

How do we do this? Simple. Through our care.

Our job, as caregivers, is to provide the intangible of TRUECARE to each of our patients.

Get your copy of "Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care" at amazon.com

Get your copy of “Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care” at amazon.com

We do this when we connect with them, makie their needs more important than our own and invest our attention, our thoughts and our emotions into their situation. It is through our care that we simplify our purpose in the chaos. Each time we take a deep breath and get present with our patients, we connect with our pure and simple desire to care for them. This is what we need to feel personal satisfaction and leave the hospital knowing we made a difference.

TAKE ACTION

Take a deep breath and exhale, let it all out, let it go. Connect to the simplicity in the situation. Step outside of yourself, reach out your hand, say hello, and honestly connect with the human in front of you. You will both feel better almost instantly. What is more satisfying than that?

Get present, say hello, and care. It’s the simplest acts that make the biggest difference.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

Best ever,

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Creating Happiness

SOS CLASSIC - Creating Happiness

By putting the needs of others in front of our own and sharing from our place of abundance, we create an energetic flow that feeds us both. — SOS Classics are reprints of Shot’s of Satisfaction that Dr. Frank Gabrin shared as he wrote his works Back from Burnout, Care 101 and Booster Shots. Each shot contains a glimpse of Dr. Franks personal journey back from burnout.

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Step 7 – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.

Originally published June 1st, 2011

Creating happiness

I have been thinking about how satisfaction and happiness are closely linked to each other. They tend to come together. Since satisfaction is something we have to create for ourselves, it stands to reason then that we create our own happiness as well.

The problem is, we often mistakenly believe that our environment is what determines whether or not we feel happy. But this is simply not true. Happiness – and satisfaction for that matter – doesn’t exist outside of us. These twin emotions are internal feelings. They exist in the quantum world of thought and energy. To find real and lasting happiness, we need to look inside our hearts and minds.

As caregivers, we have the unique opportunity to tap into our personal, internal source of happiness every day. Because it is our pure and simple desire to care for others and make them feel better, whenever we go through the process of giving care, we unlock the doors to the quantum world where our happiness exists in abundance. We fully access this abundant source when we get fully present, make a connection with our patient, empathize with their situation and their frustration, allow ourselves to feel their pain as if it were our own, and share their thoughts and emotions for awhile without offering to fix anything. When we do this, our patient naturally feels better even before we’ve even began the physical work they need. When they feel better, we feel satisfied and, with that satisfaction, our happiness is replenished.

Redirecting our energy

But sometimes we find it hard to give our care. This usually happens when we are feeling a lack of satisfaction inside ourselves. When we feel unsatisfied, we often start to complain. When we complain we are, by definition, thinking only of ourselves. This means we are running our energy inwardly back through our own system. Running our energy in this way produces negative emotional states, and causes us to feel unhappy. Energy from our quantum source can only flow through our system if we are running it outwardly and investing it in others.

When we complain, we are taking energy from others. Think about patients who complain – the ones we call “needy.” What do we say?  “Be careful, that one will suck you dry.” Think about a co-worker who always complains. They are like energy vampires who drain us and move on to their next victim. When any of us are complaining, who are we thinking about? Ourselves!  It is all about us!  We go from person to person, tapping other people’s energy because we don’t realize that we are the only ones who can our create happiness. We will never feel true happiness this way.

If we want to create daily personal happiness, we must tap into our own source and share from there. It is through this process that we, as caregivers, create satisfaction in the quantum world for both our patients and ourselves. In essence, by putting the needs of others in front of our own and sharing from our place of abundance, we create an energetic flow that feeds us both. There is no limit to the amount of happiness we can create in this way.

TAKE ACTION

Create your own happiness by giving TRUECARE 24/7. This is the fastest way for you to get out of a bad mood and the quickest way to get the energy flowing. You will instantly find peace, happiness and satisfaction.

TODAY: Make it about somebody else! Go ahead, MAKE YOUR DAY!

Best ever,

Signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Get your copy of “Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care” at amazon.com

 

Chasing Happiness

SOS CLASSIC Chasing Happiness

Choose to be happy for no reason – and see if the Universe gives you something to be happy about. — SOS Classics are reprints of Shot’s of Satisfaction that Dr. Frank Gabrin shared as he wrote his works Back from Burnout, Care 101 and Booster Shots. Each shot contains a glimpse of Dr. Franks personal journey back from burnout. Find out more at clear2care.com.

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Step 7 – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.

 

Originally published March 9th, 2011 (edited)

What are you waiting for?

We all want it. We all chase it. We all need it, but how exactly can we achieve real and authentic happiness? Do we find it in a new car, a degree, the perfect relationship, an engagement ring, a lottery check, kudos from the boss, a promotion, or a bolt of lightning?

To have real and lasting happiness, we first need to recognize that it doesn’t come from the car, the degree, the relationship, the new job, or the recognition and approval of others. When our happiness depends on “when I get what I want,” it doesn’t last. You know what I’m talking about: “If I had more, if I felt better, if I was thinner, if I was healthier, if I was in a relationship, then I could be happy.”

Happiness is a state of mind

The good news is that we can achieve authentic happiness regardless of what we have or what goes on around us. Happiness is an internal state of being. We’ve all felt it. We are happiest when we are in a flow, when we feel connected to others, when we belong to a group and are making a difference, when we feel that our work and our lives have meaning, when we are driven by purpose, and, most importantly, when we feel we matter.

But, in order to feel happy, especially when we don’t, we need to exercise mind over matter.

Thoughts are more powerful than emotions. Yet, most of the day, we let our emotions generate our thoughts. When we operate this way, we flip our energy upside down and our let our happiness become dependent on what’s going on around us. We are allowing ourselves to become the effect of our environment and happiness does not exist for us here.

Choose happiness

In order to be happy, instead of being the effect of our environment, we need to become the Cause of our own happiness. As humans, we have the free will and the power to choose the thoughts that generate our feelings and emotions. So, in effect, our happiness is a choice we can make.

When we are unhappy, it’s up to us to choose the thoughts that will generate the feeling of happiness. This way we become the Cause of our own state of being. And, when we act from this state, everything flows, we feel more connected to those around us, we feel the difference we are making and we know we matter. This is how we begin to achieve authentic happiness.

Remember that old song, “When you’re happy the whole world smiles with you?”  The Universe is like a giant mirror, when you smile, it smiles back. So if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands, stomp your feet, look for ways to connect, to plug in, to engage, to help, to share and care so that you feel what you are doing is meaningful to you and others, has purpose, and makes a positive difference in the world. This is where you will find the real and lasting happiness you are looking for.

TAKE ACTION

Choose to be happy for no reason – and see if the Universe gives you something to be happy about. Please let me know what you find!

All the best,

Signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Get your copy of “Back from Burnout: Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care” at amazon.com

 

 

SOS Classic – Creating Miracles

SOS Classics are reprints of Shot’s of Satisfaction that Dr. Frank Gabrin shared as he wrote his works Back from Burnout, Care 101 and Booster Shots. Each shot contains a glimpse of Dr. Frank’s personal journey back from burnout.

Originally published December 1st, 2010

Shot of Satisfaction ClassicEach Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Step 7 – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.

 

Creating Miracles

Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa… What’s the secret for creating miracles this month?

“Slow down, you move too fast, gotta make the good times last…” – or so the pop song goes… Well, as a matter of fact, to create good times, we really do have to slow down. Much of the time we run around on autopilot, especially now during the holidays. We drive to work thinking about everything we have to do after our shift, but remain completely unaware of what is right in front of us. We automatically react to the red light, the green light, the guy at the gas station, and then can’t remember how we made it to work safely.

In the same vein, the negative interpersonal interactions we have in our day are also the result of our robotic, non-thinking, autopilot reactions to other human beings. Often, we are so distracted by the thoughts in our heads that we forget to pay attention to the person in front of us. We forget to use our mind to consciously affect our situation. So all day long we can feel like a ping-pong ball, constantly being the effect of someone else’s fear, anger, sadness or frustration.

Own the present

Two small shifts can help you to transform this chaos into miracles – First: Get present. Stop and become aware of what is going on right in front of you. Second: Take responsibility. No matter what the stressful situation may be, be accountable for it. If we make it our responsibility, instead of blaming, we give ourselves the power to fix it. It’s not their fault, it’s our responsibility. This brave action will help us rise above our negative baggage, think outside the box, step out of the ordinary, and see the solution. When we accept responsibility for our circumstances, we enter into the realm of miracles.

Next time you find yourself running on autopilot, feeling the fear, sadness and frustration of your surroundings, stop and get present. Use the TIMEOUT tool to help you regain control of whatever is in front of you. Exerting our power of mind over matter to inject tolerance, kindness, compassion, human dignity, unconditional love and care into the situation will change the dynamic and open us up to creating satisfaction and miracles.

The TIMEOUT Tool

  1. STOP, recognize your automatic reaction and stop yourself.
  2. REALIZE that the situation is not the obstacle. The obstacle is your reactive thoughts and emotions to the situation.
  3. IDENTIFY the reactive thoughts and emotions inside you and choose to inject kindness, compassion human dignity and care into the situation.
  4. SPEAK and ACT from this new position of power of mind over matter.

TAKE ACTION

Slow down. Be present. Take responsibility. Give yourself the luxury of a TIMEOUT. Inject TRUECARE. Use your mind to affect matter. Become the cause of your own better reality. Now, that’s a huge miracle! That’s satisfaction!

All my best and Happy Chanukah,

Signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Back from Burnout:  Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care

Get your copy today at amazon.com
Get your copy today at amazon.com

 

 

SOS Classic – We all Cried

SOS Classics are reprints of Shot’s of Satisfaction that Dr. Frank Gabrin shared as he wrote his works Back from Burnout, Care 101 and Booster Shots. Each shot contains a glimpse of Dr. Frank’s personal journey back from burnout.

Originally published November 24th, 2010

Shot of Satisfaction Classic

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Step 7 – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.

 

We all cried when he died

This past weekend, two of my good friends were with me in Los Angeles for the holiday of Chanukah and the wedding of a close mutual friend. Early on Sunday morning, they received a call from their son on the East Coast – his best friend had been out with his college buddies and stumbled and fell into the street and was hit by a car.

He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. His injuries were serious; he lived for only a few hours after the accident. His parents, after receiving that horrible call in the middle of the night: “Your son has been seriously injured, please come to the hospital right away,” rushed as fast as humanly possible to the hospital, but did not make it to the Emergency Department before he passed away.

How awful and tragic. And what do you say to those parents? What did the doctor, the nurses and the technicians who struggled to save his life say to his parents when they finally arrived? I don’t know what they said, but I have been in this situation a few times in my career. It is never easy. His name was Taylor and he was just finishing the first semester of his sophomore year in college. He was a great student, a fine son and had a bright future ahead of him. He and his friends were in search of a good time in Miami on a Saturday night when suddenly, everything changed.

We are one

I did not know Taylor, but just retelling the story, which I heard second hand, without many details, brings tears to my eyes. The unbearable pain, the all-consuming anguish and the senselessness of it all – it is a huge loss.

You know that alcohol was probably involved, and his friends were frantic, loud and disruptive. His parents were coming from miles away and it was a Saturday night in a busy ED/Trauma Center in Miami, Florida. You know that chaos was there. You know the situation was a difficult one for the staff to manage.

But I know that the staff knew that Taylor was someone’s son. In a life-and-death-situation like this one, ordinary health care workers transform into the heroes of health care. Suddenly there is no limit to their compassion. They just know what to say, and what to do. I imagine that those caring for Taylor were choking back their own tears. They were probably fathers and mothers with children of their own.

When things like this happen, it is clear to see that humanity is ONE. We all love, we all bleed and sooner or later we all must face the end… These moments become surreal in the Emergency Department. Trust me, the staff gets it. All of them realize that it could be their son on that gurney. All of them must have realized that his parents would not arrive in time.

He was our son too

All of them feel the pain of the son, the father, the mother, the brother, the sister, the friends and the aunts, uncles and extended family. Don’t worry Mom, don’t worry Dad, someone held him in those last minutes of his life while he was in the ER and you couldn’t be at his side. Someone held him; someone loved him and stayed by his side. They invited him to stay until you got there, but when it was clear he would not make it, they promised him they would tell you how much he loved you, how sorry he was, and they told him it was okay to go. They told him to walk bravely toward the light.

In those precious moments between life and death, all illusions fall away and it is clear for everyone to see that Taylor was their son too. Trust me Dad, Mom, we all cried when he died.

TAKE ACTION

Just remember how our work is truly sacred. What we do, what we say, how we handle ourselves, is all vitally important. We are the ones who show care. Everything we say or do has the power to make all the difference in the world.

Namaste.

The God in me bows to the God in you,

Signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Back from Burnout:  Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care

Get your copy today at amazon.com
Get your copy today at amazon.com

 

The Power of Giving Care

SOS The Power of Giving Care

 

In this weeks Shot of Satisfaction video, Dr. Frank Gabrin, the author of Back from Burnout, shares with us how Neuroscience has shown that one simple act can transform us and how to use this action to change things for ourselves, our co-workers and our patients.

 

 

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on your journey to a fulfilling life of caregiving.

Step 7 – Take care of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. This is where we invest energy in maintaining our “equipment”—our physical and energetic caring systems. We continue to change internally, which gives us the power to transcend our present limitations and change not only ourselves but the world around us as well. We become fully realized, fully satisfied caregivers—and, better yet, fully realized, satisfied and happy human beings.

 

Shot of Satisfaction Quote

It would be wonderful

I just read Dr. Edwin Leap’s recent article in Emergency Medicine News, Elemental Human Needs for Health Care Providers. I could not agree more with his observation that it would be nice if Health Care Administrators across the land actually cared for those of us who care for their patient’s.  By the way, Dr. Leap is also the author of ‘Life in Ermergistan’, an amazing read I highly recommend.

The observation Dr. Leap makes in his article is the the fact that hospitals across the country no longer have cafeterias that are open to serve the staff or the patient’s families after regular business hours. He goes on to say that people get sick between 3pm and 7am, they have families that are under duress and that food, drink and fellowship are great comforts in these stressful situations.  He also points out that hospital staff in busy patient care areas can’t leave the hospital for their own food.  And it is even more difficult to get fed as volumes rise and staffing gets tighter.

Dr. Leap offers that would be a wonderful act of kindness, such a simple way of saying that they appreciate us, if hospitals had food available for visitors and providers whose jobs keep them in the hospital at ungodly hours, on holidays and every weekend.  While this is true and I agree wholeheartedly it would be wonderful, we all know that this act of appreciation is highly unlikely to happen in the near future. We need relief right now.

It’s up to us

If we want change, we have to “be the change we want to see” in our world. Our happiness, our satisfaction, can’t be dependent on others.  When our happiness is dependent on the actions of others, we are being, by definition, co-dependent.  This can never bring us happiness or satisfaction because we cannot control others’ behaviors.  For that matter, in the chaos filled waters of modern healthcare that we swim in everyday, it can be oh so difficult to control even our own behaviors.

So what can we do?

We are care-givers!  We can give care, not only to our patients, but also to each other.  We can appreciate each other. We can be kind to each other. Food is a universal way to share with others.  Who among us does not know what it is like to break bread with another?  It’s such a simple act of appreciation and kindness. We are hard-wired to care, and we all know deep down inside that the one who benefits the most from giving is the giver. So why not give food to each other?

We all work in departments where Amy brings homemade meatballs for the entire staff with all the fixin’s to make meatball subs.  We all know a Connie who goes out of her way to make a full Thanksgiving Dinner for the entire staff, or prepares a tailgate party in the staff lounge on Super Bowl Sunday!  How many times do Docs order pizza for the staff when the volume and acuity are high?  How many times do I stop at the local grocery store on my way to work and buy lunchmeat, cheese, bread, mayonnaise and mustard to make sandwiches for everyone?  Don’t we all find the way to organize a “Bring In” on holidays?  Doesn’t this make us all feel a bit better?

Neuroscience proves appreciation works

Modern Neuroscience research tells us that the simple act of giving a gift of candy can open our awareness, allow us some perspective and enable us to see the “big picture!” The experience of a positive emotion such as gratitude or appreciation enables us to be more creative and resilient.  We see more possibilities. We become better at math and all of our higher cognitive functions improve.

Doctors, who are given a bag of candy prior to being presented a diagnostic dilemma, reach the correct diagnosis more often than those doctors who, sadly enough, are not given candy.  Neuroscience tells us that a simple token of appreciation can help us see past racial and cultural differences.  We become more trusting of others and see the connections between people and situations.  Injecting positive emotions transforms us as individuals.  Our act of appreciation of another brings out the best in both of us.

It’s just that simple

I am crazy about coffee.  I get only the best coffee and bring special creamers that everyone likes.  The other night I had only been on the floor for ten minutes when the charge nurse came up to me and said, I had hoped you made the coffee…. to which I replied, I did but I have not had a chance to bring it out to the staff.  Our smiles broke out. A happy staff is a productive staff!   It’s just coffee- or is it? If you ask me, it’s priceless! The simple act of saying thank you can be so powerful.

After I read Dr. Leaps article, I decided to go out of my way to extra appreciate my co-workers.  I wanted to see if the neuroscience conclusions about  injecting positive emotions would make things better in the especially chaotic ER we’d been swimming in lately.  I left early for work and stopped to buy 7 dozen warm donuts at the Krispy Kreme factory.

When I walked into the Emergency Department, the smell of the fresh doughnuts walked in with me. I was met with big smiles.  The staff could hardly wait to get at them!  The waiting room was full, and things were still chaotic, but with the doughnuts and the coffee, the staff was primed!  “Positively Primed!”

With renewed energy, we worked together as one to move everything as efficiently as possible through the system. In just a few hours we had that waiting room empty. Our patients left thanking us for the care we gave them as they were headed home to bed.  We were thanking each other for a job well done.  The overall experience of the shift was better than the previous nights for everyone!!!

I know that this simple, inexpensive gift, this simple token of appreciation, changed everything for everybody that night.  Things were better for me, for my staff and my patients!  We each hold the power within us to make a difference, to make our world better!  It is just that simple!

TAKE ACTION

We can’t wait for hospital administrators to open the cafeteria at night, on weekends or holidays.  We can’t wait for others to appreciate us, care for us, or support us.  We can only be the change we want to see in this world.

Leave a half hour early for work one day this week so you can pick up something to bring in for your co-workers.  Tell them how much you appreciate them.  Try it. See if it does not change things and make a difference for you, for them and all those you all care for.  I know you will like the results!

Care, make a difference and change (y)our world!

Signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

 

 

Back from Burnout:  Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion
Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care

Get your copy today at amazon.com
Get your copy today at amazon.com

 

 

SOS Classic – Our Common Ground

SOS Classics are reprints of Shot’s of Satisfaction that Dr. Frank Gabrin shared as he wrote his works Back from Burnout, Care 101 and Booster Shots. Each shot contains a glimpse of Dr. Frank’s personal journey back from burnout.

Originally published June 8th, 2012

Shot of Satisfaction Classic

REFLECT – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.

Our Common Ground

This week, my video interview for Medical Economics article came out on modernmedicine.com. You can watch the video by clicking on this link: Watch Video

I have received some letters from people who have read my essay in Medical Economics, or seen the video interview, about my experience on the other side of the stethoscope as a patient with cancer. I am somewhat surprised that I have not heard anything negative, but I have to say that I am even more surprised by the fact that my story seems to bring up strong emotions for people. It touches their heart, and most go on to tell me that they were moved to tears.

When I watch the video and it gets to a place where my voice cracks and it is clear that I am struggling to choke back tears, even I am taken aback- for that experience happened 15 years ago and.  When I retell my story, I can feel the emotion as if it were happening now. I am bothered that this experience still holds so much raw emotion for me. It was very scary to submit my story for publication, to let the whole world know that I had been castrated by cancer. It is embarrassing, shameful, and obviously, emotionally painful. Publishing my story lets the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and now everyone knows I am not perfect and my flaw is no longer hidden.

The birthplace of joy

It’s not easy for any of us to expose our flaws, our imperfections, our limitations or our deficits. None of us likes feeling or being VULNERABLE. We pretend we are not vulnerable but, the truth is, we are all in the same boat here for we live in a vulnerable world. The experience of vulnerability reeks of weakness, frailty, shame, humiliation and a struggle for worthiness along with touching our deepest fears of rejection. But true vulnerability, it turns out, is the birthplace of joy, creativity, love, connection and a real sense of belonging, or connection with others, for it is only in this place of vulnerability that we can be fully authentic and real.

I have heard from patients, nurses, doctors, as well as medics, and I believe this to be the case, that there is a real craving for this sort of authentic connection in medicine today on the part of both the patients and us- the givers of care. We will never be able to connect on an authentic level if we keep our “professional” distance. To fulfill this craving will take courage. We will need to be willing to let go of who we think we should be, in order to be who we really are, in order to move us into a place of connection with each other and those we care for. Our business, and our reason for coming to healthcare, is based on being human- and humans are emotional beings. You really can’t find satisfaction in this business of medicine if you force yourself to check your emotions at the entrance to the hospital.

“You really can’t find satisfaction in this business of medicine if you force yourself to check your emotions at the entrance to the hospital.”

Reclaiming our power

I am starting to get the sense, from all your feedback, that we all want to embrace our human frailties and include them in our practice of medicine. We all seem to have the same intense longing, or real and palpable need, to contribute beyond our selves, to give real authentic kindness and compassionate care to our patients and each other.

The only problem is that we have been given this unwritten mandate to stay professional and clinical; to stay detached and objective. It is almost as if we feel that we do not have permission to be who we really are. (It took me 15 years to be able to tell my story in this way- and even though no one gave me permission, my need to share overcame my need for safety and security, to look good and to stay professional. The pay off for sharing in this way has been such a blessing, for I now see that everyone is really feeling something similar as I, and that I am not alone. I feel like a new man.) It is time for us to reclaim our own power to create what we wanted when we came to these careers in the first place- the intense personal satisfaction that comes from caring for another in need.

All of the good things in life come through our connection with other people. Good news has little value if you have no one to share it with. Caring, sharing and giving to others bring to us the very best this life has to offer, and we deserve nothing less than the best. But, we will only be able to get the best if we are willing to humble ourselves and be authentic in our imperfection, especially when it comes to truly caring for another.

“We will only be able to get the best if we are willing to humble ourselves and be authentic in our imperfection, especially when it comes to truly caring for another.”

TAKE ACTION

I know it is not easy, but why not try letting our guard down just a little? Soften up and slow it down a bit. Let’s make the effort and take the opportunity to relax and be just a little more authentic (and human) at the bedside with our patients.

We can give authentic care to them just by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable for a moment, commiserating with them and letting them feel that we actually know in our hearts, not just our heads, how awful this situation is for them. Then, from this place, promise them that we will do whatever is in our power to make this rough spot just a little easier for them to endure. See for yourself if a little satisfaction does not mysteriously creep into the room, if we both do not feel somehow energized and lifted by our shared human experience.

Let’s see if we can’t get a little of the good stuff we crave at work today. Let’s allow our vulnerabilities to bring us back to a fuller, richer, deeper experience of life itself. We will not only feel better, but we will be better people for it! It is in this way that we have to power to change our practice of nursing and medicine, one interpersonal human encounter at a time.

Signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Back from Burnout:  Seven Steps to Healing from Compassion
Fatigue and Rediscovering (Y)our Heart of Care

Get your copy today at amazon.com
Get your copy today at amazon.com

 

SOS Classic – Drop it

SOS Classics are reprints of Shot’s of Satisfaction that Dr. Frank Gabrin shared as he wrote his works Back from Burnout, Care 101 and Booster Shots. Each shot contains a glimpse of Dr. Frank’s personal journey back from burnout.

Originally published August 17th, 2012

Shot of Satisfaction Classic

 

REFLECT – TAKE CARE of yourself. Restore and renew yourself by applying the quantum skills you’ve learned to energize and elevate every part of your life. Apply the tools of transformation so that you can transcend your present limitations.

Drop It

When it comes to caring for others, it can be a whole lot easier when they are a victim (the cancer patient), than when it is someone who has created their problem for themselves (an alcoholic or drug addict). As a matter of fact, it can be downright problematic when it comes to caring for those adults who do not, or will not take responsibility for themselves, especially since, most of the time, there is no real solution at hand for making things better for them.

The reason this is so personally frustrating for me, and most caregivers, is that their irresponsibility and refusal to be accountable for their own pain and suffering, brings up in us those places where we have not taken responsibility for creating our own satisfaction and happiness. Their pain shows us our own, it shows us where we are the same.

We say we want to be our best and do our best, yet it is clear to me that almost all of our personal frustration and pain in life comes from the fact that we are not living up to our own potential. We suffer in those areas of our lives where we are not being our best in any given moment.

We already know

This week, in my professional and personal life, people have come to me and asked for my help to do better because they want to feel better. I can see where they limit themselves, and their potential, by holding onto their past and their past failures. They, like many of us, have become addicted to telling their “story” about how they were wounded by life, and how, even though they understand how to overcome their temptations, they just can’t do it because of their wounding. They can’t see a way to put down their story and do what they know they need to do to lead them out of their current dilemma.

It may seem easier to believe that we are all blind to our own problems, and if this is true for you, ask a close friend to tell you what what they think you are doing wrong in your life. Be ready though, because if they are anything like most of us, they will be “so glad you asked.” Take out a pen and paper because you will want to take notes. If this too scary for you, don’t worry because, you see, we may not like to admit it, but most of us already know where we are falling short in our lives and we already know what the solution is that will allow us to have what it is that we really want for ourselves. So use that pen and paper to write it down for yourself.

We have to help ourselves

In all the situations that people came to me for help this week, they each were feeling badly because they are disappointed in themselves. They knew they could be doing better but they have not yet figured out how to put the cake down, step away from the drug, push the bottle aside, walk out of the negative relationship they are in, or to actually do the work required of them to accomplish their goal. I care about these people and I want to help them, but the bottom line is that if they really want to do better, feel better and be better, they must willing to help themselves.

We have first to be able see our own limitations and areas in our own lives where we have yet to be successful in creating our own happiness and satisfaction before we can begin to feel empathy for the irresponsible adults who need our care. Then, before we can help, we have to step out of our story, our past, and our limitations and make the choice to do what, by holding onto our story, has seemed impossible.

When we accept that if we do not have what we want in our own lives, we simply have not been doing enough work to create it for ourselves, we can let go of looking for someone else to blame, a quick fix or an easy way out. To be able help people, we have to first help ourselves by doing the hard work required to become the people we want to be . Only through our commitment to doing, being and feeling better on our way to getting better, will we be able to model the way home for our patients, our friends and our family who have lost their way.

In order to create a better future, we have to turn our backs on our past, drop our story and let it go. Without it, we can do anything. We can be our best self in any given moment. By taking the first step out of the ordinary and onto the road to extraordinary, we will be helping those who need us most.

TAKE ACTION

To make this even more practical, write down one thing you would like to become: Slim, healthy, a PHd, a non smoker, a marathon runner, a great dad, a loving wife, someone’s life partner, debt free or a guitar player. Whatever your dream is, write it down. Then commit to taking one action daily that will allow you to become your dream. 

Do one action each day that transforms you, and moves you closer to who you want to be. In this way we can all be the change we want to see in the world. Taking these daily actions will empower us, make us more resilient and give us the energy we need to always be our best.

signature

Frank D. Gabrin, D.O

Get your copy at amazon.com.
Shot of Satisfaction
Antidotes for Burnout and Compassion Fatigue
Thursday, December 17, 2015
A Pot of Gold

Each Shot of Satisfaction is related to one of the seven steps back from burnout in the process of REFLECT. My hope is that, by sharing with you how I apply these steps in my daily life, it will help you on … Continue reading