What Do You Want?

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 September 29th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 3 -FORMULATE your plan. Recalculate the transaction of care using the Perfect Equation. Free yourself from your hidden agenda.


What do you want?

Stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What do I really want?” “What is my desire?” Once you are clear about what you want, you can make the plan to get it for yourself. This is how you create your own satisfaction. This is how you live a life that matters. – Dr. Frank

I don’t know about you, but most days I can be driven to distraction. It seems I never have enough time. I get so overwhelmed by my “to-do” list that I lose sight of the big picture.

Let’s face it, we all lead busy lives with responsibilities and obligations. But we can be busy working very hard and still go nowhere.

From time to time, we need to zoom out and take a look at what we’re busy doing. We need to stop, breathe, and ask ourselves why we’re doing it. What’s the point? Do I have a goal? What do I really want from my life?

You know all too well what happens to our computers when we run too many programs, or have too many windows open. The machine runs slower and slower until, eventually, it hangs or crashes. When we notice this happening, we save our work, and then shut down, reboot and start fresh. Then everything seems to go just fine.

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

This week is the perfect opportunity to reboot. Stop, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What do I really want?” “What is my desire?” Once you are clear about what you want, you can make the plan to get it for yourself. This is how you create your own satisfaction. This is how you live a life that matters.

TAKE ACTION

This week, stop, breathe and ask yourself, “What do I want?” Write it down. Make a list. What matters to you? Clearly state your desire. Then, make a plan and commit to do whatever it takes!

If we want to get somewhere in life, we need to know where we are going. Once we know the destination, it’s simple.

So, what do YOU really want?

All my best,
Dr. Frank

Make it about Them

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 September 21st, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 3 -FORMULATE your plan. Recalculate the transaction of care using the Perfect Equation. Free yourself from your hidden agenda.


Make it about them

When I am feeling unloved and unappreciated, I just need to stop my reactive beast within and reconnect to my passion. I need to be caring to feel cared for. That means giving to others exactly what I am looking for myself. On my path to satisfaction, I need to be the friend I want to have. -Dr. Frank

Everything in the Emergency Department carries a sense of urgency. There are always too many patients and never enough patience. Everyone thinks their crisis trumps everyone else’s. Emotions are raw, anxiety is high and chaos reigns supreme. Maintaining your composure is tough for everyone whether you’re a patient, a family member, a medic, a secretary, a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a physician assistant, a doctor, or – God help you—the “charge” nurse.

If you are part of the staff in a busy ED, everyone seems to look to you for answers and they want them NOW.  Everyone has a problem that they are looking for you to fix. The upside of this is that we are great problem solvers. We enjoy fixing things for others. Solving problems actually makes us feel good. But sometimes, in the heat of the moment, because of an attitude or the tone in someone’s voice when they demand our help, we can, on occasion, lose it. When this happens, we really do lose it all.

When we lose our composure, we often take our frustrations out on each other. Even worse, sometimes we take it out on the patients who push our buttons. “I can’t believe she is talking to me that way.” This one is demanding, that one is incompetent, the other one is lazy, and yet another is stubborn and inflexible. No matter which one of our buttons is being pushed, our automatic reactive behavior is to judge the other as wrong. We say to ourselves, “I won’t let them treat me that way! I deserve better!”

“I deserve” comes from our sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, entitlement is a dead end – at work or in any relationship – if we want to find satisfaction. “I deserve” awakens the reactive beast within. The war is on and we set out to prove we are right. We may internalize our hurt feelings and act out in passive-aggressive ways. This only magnifies our frustration and disconnects us from acting on our desire to care for others. We end up in a “no-win” situation, where nobody gets what they want.

I always say that appreciation is the antidote for the downward spiral of entitlement, and it is. Anytime we stop appreciating what we have, we lose it. We become like stagnant cesspools of water, full of toxins and dank energy. But I’ve realized that all the appreciation in the world might not be enough if we are not able to connect back to our true desire to care for others.

When we feel frustrated, upset or unappreciated, it means we are filled with incongruent wants or desires. To get back on track, any time we feel our buttons have been pushed and can sense that the beast within is rising to the surface, we need reconnect to our original desire to be here and figure out exactly what is getting in the way of what we really want. For those of us who chose this profession, our fulfillment comes from the care giving itself and to achieve it, we need to be the cause of our own satisfaction, rather than the effect of another’s actions.

In order to be the cause, we need to stop and ask ourselves, “Do I want to be right? Do I want to feel hurt and disrespected? Do I want to be angry or depressed? Do I really want to be the effect of another’s careless words or deeds? Or, do I want to be happy, energized, motivated and joyful in my work?”  Once we ask ourselves these questions, we begin the process of untangling and reconnecting with our true desires.

Getting satisfaction from what we do every day depends on being clear on what we really want. When we are clear it is much easier to be the cause of our own happiness. If we are in in the Emergency Department, we chose to be caregivers. In relationship to our patients and our co-workers, our spouses, our children and our friends, we want to care for them and know that our care makes things better.  And that is all we really want.

When our simple desire to care has been corrupted by us becoming the effect of our environment, we begin to attach all sorts of conditions to our caring. We want a thank you, we want flawless teamwork, competent co-workers, happy co-workers, grateful patients. The list goes on and on. Our original desire to care becomes conditional on others behavior. Suddenly we can only care if we are treated with respect and we will give care only on our terms.

By attaching these conditions to our initial pure uncorrupted simple desire to create our own happiness and joy through our caring, we have given our power to create satisfaction for ourselves away. Our satisfaction becomes dependent on the other’s behavior or reaction. This just doesn’t work. We all know that we cannot control the way others behave. When we cede control to our unconscious reactive behavior, our world can become one of co-dependency, addiction, chaos, and pain and suffering.

When I am in trouble and I want a friend’s help, I want them to be kind, caring, patient, compassionate and steadfast in their resolve to see me through whatever situation I find myself in. I want them to treat me with respect and human dignity. I want to feel their care, and I want their care to make a difference for me. I want to know that I am not in this alone. This is what I want when I am in need.

I have re-learned a very powerful lesson this week:  What I am looking for from a friend is the same as my original desire to help and care for others in need.  When I am feeling unloved and unappreciated, I just need to stop my reactive beast within and reconnect to my passion. I need to be caring to feel cared for. That means giving to others exactly what I am looking for myself.  On my path to satisfaction, I need to be the friend I want to have.

ACTION:
Today and every day stop and reconnect to your original desire to work in healthcare. Use the “TIME OUT” Tool to unwind your tangled desires and overcome what is getting in the way of what you really want.:

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

1)      Become aware when something happens that pushes your reactive button.
2)      STOP:  Realize that the problem is not the problem; it is your automatic reaction to the situation that is the problem. You may be “right,” “hurt,” or “angry” – but needing to be these things only prevents you from finding a creative solution, from coming up with a thinking-feeling response that has the power to change the situation and make everything better.
3)      Identify your reactive thoughts/feelings (like, “I deserve better”) and make the choice to inject a new positive thought (such as “be the friend you want to have”) that will empower you to be the cause of something new and better.
4)      Finally, speak or act from this new internal quantum space and flip the polarity switch. Make it about them.

Go Ahead. Make your Day. Remember what you really want, and act from there. Do it for you, just to make yourself better! See if all those things you attached to that initial pure simple desire to care and make a difference – like appreciation, respect, and the feeling of satisfaction in a job well done – show up too.  But this will only work if you unravel your attachments from your desire. The results will be incredibly delicious and fulfilling.  I promise!

Thank you, Storm.

Dr. Frank

Take a Time Out

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 September 14th, 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.


 

Take a time out

SOS CLASSIC Time Out

Sometimes, being “right” is not all that great. Our need to be “right” all the time can actually lead to feelings of frustration and unhappiness, especially when we demand validation for being “right.” -Dr. Frank

All blame is a waste of time.  No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame them, it will not change you.  The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration.

You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming them, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.

-Wayne Dyer

Am I right?

Sometimes, being “right” is not all that great. Our need to be “right” all the time can actually lead to feelings of frustration and unhappiness, especially when we demand validation for being “right.” Am I right?

But there are two types of “right.”

As a doctor dealing with life and death situations in the Emergency Department, others want us to be right all the time. I feel I need to be right too and, in fact, I love it when I make the right diagnosis and the right treatment plan. I enjoy the satisfaction I feel, internally, because I figured it out and was able to make the situation better for a patient. The truth is, in the end, as a doctor I don’t need my patient or my staff to validate me. In this situation, being right is a good thing.

That other need to be right

Working in the day-to-day grind of a busy ED, conditions are difficult and challenging on a regular basis. On those days when chaos seems to reign, how many times have we judged and spoken badly about another doctor, nurse, medic or secretary? “She’s a bed blocker!” “He’s such a slacker!”  How many times have we complained about what we perceive as another peer’s lack of work ethics?

You know what? We might be right. That peer may not be doing their best. We may be totally right about what we think.  And when we are working harder to pick up the slack, we may be totally justified in our righteous indignation. But are we right when, instead of speaking to them directly and finding a creative way to ask them to step up their game, we get angry? Are we right when, in our attempt to find some relief, we complain to others, hoping they will agree with us and get angry too?

This kind of need to be right is very dangerous. It divides the staff and causes bad feelings. This type of self-righteousness is what destroys any sense of TEAM and UNITY. In times when it’s not right to be right, we need a tool to help us deal with what the real problem is, our frustrations and how we act on them.

Taking a time out

When we are dealing with thoughts and feelings, we have to look beyond the physical and into the quantum field of energy and emotion. It is on this level that we can begin to see that the problem is never the problem. The problem is only what triggers an “automatic-robotic” emotional reaction within us that causes us to act out in negative ways. In other words, the real problem is how we react to the things that we perceive as a problem.

The Time Out tool can help us deal with the what’s really happening. I know, it sounds like what you would use on a three year old, and in some ways it is. But please don’t dismiss it until you’ve tried it. It is a powerful tool to help us regain conscious control over our reactions and transform our day.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Something happens that pushes our reactive button.
  2. STOP: Realize that the problem is not the problem; it is our automatic reaction to the situation that is the problem.
  3. Identify the reactive thoughts/feelings and make the choice to inject a new positive thought that will be the cause of something new and better.
  4. Finally, make the switch and speak or act from this new internal quantum space.

Remember, we may be “right” – but just being right prevents us from looking for a creative solution and coming up with a thinking-feeling response that has the power to change the situation and make everything better.

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

We can be 100% right about what we think is wrong, but that doesn’t mean we see the big picture. We don’t always know what’s going on with the other person. What’s more, when we judge someone as wrong or bad, we are actually hurting ourselves and making matters worse for everyone. This is how we allow our frustrations to steal our joy. It would be in our best interest if, instead of just reacting, taking it personally and fighting to be right, we try to see what’s “right” about them.

When we stop making the other person wrong, we are able to share our observations and work with them to help shift the situation in a more efficient and equitable way. Behaving in this manner is what empowers both parties to create a sense of teamwork and unity. We can transform our day, but only if we stop and take a time out. By letting go of blaming others, we stop experiencing the effects of our reactions. And, by taking a time out, we take back our power and become the cause of something much, much better.

Have the Best Work Day Ever,

Dr. Frank

The Value of Care

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 September 7th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 1 -REMEMBER what you came here for. Reconnect with your desire to care. Remember what you want from your work: the feeling good that comes from truly caring for others.


By injecting the intangibles (care, concern, connection) into the tangible, you add intangible value to whatever it is you are doing. Your success, fulfillment and enjoyment of life lies in adding value to all those you encounter along the way. – Dr. Frank

The value of care

How can you add value to your life?

Do you ever feel like you just exist instead of really living? Do you wonder where the value is in what you’re doing?  Do you ever consider why you spend 12 grueling hours in the hospital, working so hard, only to find yourself in the exact same place tomorrow

There is a difference between working at a job and being engaged in your career. It’s the same difference between having a house and living in a home. What makes a house a home? It is our love, care, concern and our connection to the people who live there. It’s not the physical stuff that makes us feel good inside – the giant flat-screen TV, the high-speed internet connection, the expensive furniture, or the car parked in your garage. It’s the intangibles of our relationship with others that make the difference. It’s smile that rises when you see your partner, the love you put into the food you cook for your guests and the care you inject into helping your child with his/her homework. These are the intangibles where we find all the real value life has to offer, like connection, purpose and pleasure.

Creating value at work

The same is true at the hospital. You can be successful at triaging a patient, but still feel unfulfilled and stressed. “All the rooms are full, have a seat in the lobby, and once we get the people who have come before you into the back, you will be next.” How can you add value to that process so you can feel good about what you’re doing? By injecting the intangible of care. We do this by paying attention, not only to the patient’s complaint, their vital signs or the form we are filling out, but to the patient in front of us.

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

When we inject real concern and care into the process, we add value to our experience (and the experience of our patient) by connecting with the hurting human in front of us, empathizing with their situation, feeling their fears, and reassuring them. This is how we let them know that we want the best for them and that we will get them what they need in the most efficient and compassionate way possible. We can do all of this even when it’s busy and chaotic.

Injecting these intangibles into our interactions is what will makes us feel better. Doing so helps us to connect, create meaning and find purpose and greater significance with what we are already doing.

TAKE ACTION

Try it. You will feel a sense of accomplishment. You will feel energized and engaged. You will change y(our) world. You will create satisfaction on both sides of the stethoscope.

Life is what we make it. By injecting the intangibles (care, concern, connection) into the tangible, you add intangible value to whatever it is you are doing. Your success, fulfillment and enjoyment of life lies in adding value to all those you encounter along the way. 

Remember, the people you meet may not remember what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Best ever,

 

Quantum Care

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 31, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 4 -LOOK at your position within the transaction of care, and ask yourself if you are the cause of something better or the effect of another’s situation. Am I reacting or am I responding. Reframe your role (in the patient encounter, or any interpersonal encounter), and your position in regards to your goal: to understand that the obstacles to your satisfaction aren’t outside you, but within you. Make the inner transformation and shift your position in your personal, internal quantum space from a negative to a positive one.


Intimacy may not be an easy thing to create between two people, but if we really want to feel good about who we are and what we do in our world of modern healthcare, we need to do the work to get intimate and get real with our patients. It is the only way for us to feel satisfied at the end of our workday. -Dr. Frank

Quantum Care

“All intimacy is rare – that’s what makes it precious. And it involves the revelation of one’s self and the loving gaze upon another’s true self – that’s what makes it so damn hard.  Intimacy requires honesty and kindness in almost equal measure (a little more kindness, I think), trust and trustworthiness, forgiveness and the capacity to be forgiven…
It’s more than worth it – just don’t let them tell you it’s bliss.”
-Amy Bloom

We are all looking for satisfaction in every area of our lives. For those of us who work in health care, creating satisfaction means acting on our simple desire to care for others. We came to these jobs because we followed our hearts. We wanted to care and make a difference.

Care, like love, is an energetic commodity. It can be found in the realm of the unseen and the intangible. Care exists in Einstein’s Quantum world where the laws of quantum physics apply. That is exactly why True Care is so powerful.

Care is both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is a blend of thoughts and emotional energy that we share with our patients. As a verb it is a process that generates the healing energy that makes a difference.

In order to create satisfaction for our patients and ourselves we have to move step-by-step through the process described by Father Henri Nouyen:

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

  1. Get Present. Focus on the hurting human in front of you.
  2. Connect with them on a personal level.
  3. Put their needs in front of your own. Make them the most important.
  4. EMPATHIZE. Feel their pain until it actually hurts. Sit with that pain until you feel a shift for both of you.
  5. Turn on the COMPASSION.  Connect with your desire to make things better for them.

When we do this, all of the dopamine rich centers in our pre-frontal cortex light up and we feel “amazing.” When we share a moment of humanity, when our patient realizes that we truly want the very best for them, they will feel amazing as well.

This simple process is one of the few WIN-WIN’s readily available to us these days!  Intimacy is required in all the steps of the True Care process. Intimacy may not be an easy thing to create between two people, but if we really want to feel good about who we are and what we do in our world of modern healthcare, we need to do the work to get intimate and get real with our patients. It is the only way for us to feel satisfied at the end of our workday.

TAKE ACTION

We as care givers feel called to this work because we really want to care. Our desire to care is built into our DNA. The only way we can feel satisfied and get that feel-good rush of dopamine in each of our encounters is to engage in Father Henri’s recipe for True Care.

Go ahead, make your day, and indulge in a little dopamine rush!  Do it for you!

Do Your Best to Feel Your Best, Always,
Dr. Frank

Regaining Control

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 18, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 1 -REMEMBER what you came here for. Reconnect with your desire to care. Remember what you want from your work: the feeling good that comes from truly caring for others.


Forgiveness is a powerful technology that can put us back in the driver’s seat. Forgiveness shifts us from being the effect back to being the cause. When we forgive, we are in control. – Dr. Frank

Regaining control

“Well, I’ve hung on to every bit of rubbish there is to hang on to in life and I’ve thrown all the good bits away. Now can you tell me why I do that?”
-Judy Garland in I Could Go On Singing

It’s mid-August and the dog days of summer are on us – those steamy hot afternoons when even the most loving of God’s creatures can snap. Irritation levels are at an all-time high. We seem to focus on what’s wrong with everyone and everything around us. And it’s no surprise that as the thermometer rises, so do the number of challenges in the Emergency Department.

Dealing with angry, disgruntled, demanding patients – not to mention those in pain or crisis – can cause us to feel like victims. They can leave us feeling frustrated, exhausted, or even abused. There is a reason why we feel this way.

When someone pushes my buttons and I become upset, that person becomes the cause of my dissatisfaction. I become the effect of their action. There is a shift in the balance of energy and, as a result, I feel powerless because I have given away my control. In this state, I am at their mercy.  If I continue this way, I will soon become overwhelmed and want to run whenever I see another person because, on an energetic level, I am worried that they will take even more of my energy and I will soon be left with nothing.

So how do I regain control in my life? The answer is quite simple. Forgiveness.

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

Forgiveness is a powerful technology that can put us back in the driver’s seat. Forgiveness shifts us from being the effect back back to being the cause. When we forgive, we are in complete control.

When I choose to not take it personally and forgive their behavior, I am letting go of being a victim to it. This is how I become the cause of my well being because I am taking the action to control my reaction to the situation. The beauty of this tool is that it works both ways. Asking others – especially those who have wounded us – for forgiveness is the ultimate in taking back our power.

TAKE ACTION

This week, when you feel like your buttons are being pushed, stop, don’t react, don’t allow yourself to be the effect, reclaim your power by reaching into your tool belt and pulling out the sword of forgiveness. Be the cause of your own ultimate satisfaction by forgiving them, then caring for them.

All the best,
Dr. Frank

Inside the Emergency

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 10, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 6 -CIRCLE BACK to the beginning. If you’re not being effective, remember what you want and execute the first five steps of REFLECT again, with this same person or situation. Regroup when the encounter is over so you can do it all again. Remember your desire is to care. Look for a fresh opportunity to care again.


When we step inside the life or death emergency, we simultaneously have full command and access to the consciousness of our right brain and our left brain . We are fully connected through the activation of our desire to care for another. – Dr. Frank

In the Emergency

In my ongoing quest to help us all become more satisfied care givers, I was inspired by a recent TED talk with Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Dr. Taylor is a Neuroanatomist, who had a “stroke of insight” when she experienced bleeding in her brain. Take a look at her fascinating lecture here: Dr. Taylor Ted Talk

Dr. Taylor shows us how the right hemisphere of our brain is focused on the present moment – the right here and right now. Our right brain thinks in pictures. Information, in the form of energy, streams in simultaneously through all of our senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Once inside the right brain, this sensual information explodes into an enormous collage of what our present moment looks like, sounds like, smells like, tastes like and feels like.

Our experience of reality, if we go by our right brain, is that we are an energy being connected to the energy all around us. We have a sense of connection to one another through the viewfinder of our right hemispheres as one large human family. In the “right here, right now,” we are all brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. In this present moment we are perfect.  We are whole.  We are beautiful.

Dr. Taylor goes on to tell us that our left brain is an entirely different place, where we think linearly and methodically. Our left brain is concerned with the past and the future. Our left brain is designed to take that enormous collage of sensual information from our present moment and begin separating and categorizing it, organizing and re-organizing details upon details upon details. Our left brain then associates all of this information with everything we’ve ever learned in the past and projects it into our future.

Our left brain thinks in language. Our left brain is that ongoing chatter inside our heads that connects me and my internal world, to my external world. It’s that little voice that says to me, “Hey, you gotta remember to pick up bananas on your way home so you can eat them in the morning.” It is that calculating intelligence that reminds me when I have to do my laundry. But most importantly, it is that little voice that tells me, “I am.”

As soon as our left brain says to me “I am,” I become separate (from you). I become a single solid individual detached from the energy flow around me. It is our right brain that is responsible for the experience of unity and our left brain that is responsible for our experience of individuality.

Engaged care

I’m always saying that humans are hard-wired to care and I am not making it up. Caring actually makes us feel good. All of us who work in the Emergency Department are here for the Lazarus moment – when someone comes to us nearly dead in the midst of having a heart attack or drowning in their own fluids in congestive heart failure or pulmonary edema. We thrive when we take care of patients who have been shot or stabbed. We love we are faced with and are able to defeat the Angel of Death. Why?

Have you ever noticed that when we step inside a “real” emergency, everyone knows his or her role and position on the team? We know where everything is, even equipment we have not seen in months. We act as a team, as one single organism. We become a hero working within a group of heroes. We experience flawless teamwork. We seamlessly anticipate each other’s needs and fulfill them. Our desire to care and make a difference is fully engaged and we all act in unison on that desire. We feel connected to something larger than us. We find meaning, significance and purpose in ordinary and simple tasks like starting the IV or pushing the medicine.

For me personally, when I step inside the emergency, I become aware of everything that is happening simultaneously. I can track six conversations at once. I can think through it all, assimilate it all, handle it all, knowing exactly what needs to happen next. It is as if I step through some doorway into a zone where I lose my ordinary self, and can see, hear and feel everything going on around me. I know you have experienced this for yourselves whenever you have stepped inside the emergency to save another’s life, no matter what position on the team you hold. This is where our care for others causes our entire brain to light up. This is where caring for others gives us full access to the totality of our own experience of humanity.

When we step inside the life or death emergency, we simultaneously have full command and access to the consciousness of our right brain (unity and sensuality) and our left brain (language and calculation). We are fully connected through the activation of our desire to care for another. We naturally move through the energies of full presence, connection, empathy and compassion. And if that does not feel good, if that is not miraculous, if that is not larger than ordinary life, if that is not heroic, if that does not contain intense pleasure, meaning, purpose and significance, well, I don’t know what does. This is why we love emergency medicine. This is why we became nurses, doctors, and medics. This is why we work in the hospital. This is why we crave this sort of satisfaction, and this is why the only way we can feel this good is to lose ourselves in the care for another.

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

In order for us to find this kind of satisfaction in all our patient encounters, especially those mundane moments, we have to consciously connect to our desire to care and make a difference for every patient.  When we are dealing with the everyday challenges of patient care that push our reactive buttons, we need to exercise the power of our free will and consciously choose to give True Care.  By injecting True Care into ALL of our patient encounters, we can transform even the most mundane into miraculous events.

TAKE ACTION

In order for us to find this kind of satisfaction in all our patient encounters, especially those mundane moments, we have to consciously connect to our desire to care and make a difference for every patient.  When we are dealing with the everyday challenges of patient care that push our reactive buttons, we need to exercise the power of our free will and consciously choose to give TRUEcare.  By injecting TRUEcare into ALL of our patient encounters, we can transform even the most mundane into miraculous events.

Best ever,
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

 

 

No Ordinary Human

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 July 27th, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 1 -REMEMBER what you came here for. Reconnect with your desire to care. Remember what you want from your work: the feeling good that comes from truly caring for others.


SOS CLASSIC (1)

When you engage your desire, it gives you great power. Today and every day, act on your desire to care. This is how we make all the difference in the world.

No ordinary human

I know your secret, you are finally exposed, outed!  You are no ordinary human.

It’s incredibly busy in the Emergency Department these days, and the dawg days of summer have yet to arrive. Our work place is already overrun with people who have succumbed to chaos, calamity or tragedy. Our patients and their families are in pain, distressed, demanding, angry and frightened. They feel entitled to immediate attention because their situation is the worst. “What’s taking so long? This is ridiculous! You call this a hospital? You call yourself a nurse?”

People are frustrated with us from the moment they walk in the door. Some scream at us, some throw up on us and others actually spit on us. When they don’t get what they want right away, they demand to talk to our supervisor. Others take notes and ask us to spell our name for them so they can contact administration. No matter how much we do, it never seems to be enough. Why?

Because our desire to care just isn’t enough.

When it’s busy and chaotic, it’s difficult to feel good about our work, especially when no one is satisfied with our effort to care. Many of us are asking ourselves, “Why are we here? Why do we choose to do this for a living? Why did I become a medic, a nurse, a physician’s assistant, a nurse practitioner or doctor?”

Simply asking this question can provide us almost instant relief because the answer is obvious, we came here to care and to make things better for others. We came here to save the day. We came here because we have a simple and pure desire to make a difference. When we remember why we came here, it becomes easier to see that all those people who are treating us poorly, whose behaviors are so toxic, are really in need of our care. These are the hurting humans we came here to care about. They each present us with an opportunity to get more from life.

I saw you

Yesterday, when I arrived at the hospital, I saw you. You were stepping outside the ordinary, and taking extraordinary steps to walk the extra mile for a patient who was not appreciative of your efforts. I could see how he felt entitled to have special treatment, and treated you with disrespect and disdain. Still, you were steadfast in your resolve to handle the situation, to make it better no matter what the cost.

Your patient and his family were deaf, and although none of them were badly injured, they were upset and frustrated. Their car was totaled in an accident on the interstate. They were visiting from out of town, on a trip to Disney World in Florida. They needed a rental car. They needed a hotel. They did not know where to go. It was after-hours on the weekend. They did not have a laptop or internet access. They did not know where their car was, or how to retrieve their luggage. They were too emotional to think clearly, and because they were deaf, they could not make the necessary calls to secure a rental car or a hotel. They could not call their insurance company. They had no friends or family to help them.

It was the end of your shift. You had already “clocked out.” But I saw you take the time to kindly sit with this patient, get the number for the insurance company, find the police station responsible for handling the accident, track down the tow company, and make the calls that would allow them to retrieve their luggage. I watched as you called more than one company to find them the best price on a rental car, and then a hotel that could accommodate them, that was close by and in a safe part of town. All the while, they were nervous, frustrated, demanding, unhappy, impatient, unsatisfied and ungrateful.

Finally, when you realized that there were too many of them to fit in your car, I watched you print a Google map, highlight the route with a marker, print the information from the impound yard, the hotel and the rental car agency, and put each of them in separate envelopes. Then I watched you drive the dad to the rental car lot, go to the counter to help him, wait until he had secured the car, and then have him follow you back to the hospital to retrieve his family. I saw the smile on your face when the dad asked you your name, just before you drove away from our ambulance bay.

Hardwired to care

No, you are not a social worker or a travel agent. None of this was part of your job. You are just an ordinary human, who has a degree; you call yourself a medic, a nurse or a doctor. Yet, when you were tired, hungry and anxious to head home to your family, you stepped out of the ordinary, and walked the extra mile, putting the needs of your patients above your own. Your care made a difference. It saved the day. While it could be a day or two before his arrival in Florida, having the vacation of a lifetime, this was no ordinary day for you or them.

It had nothing to do with your training, your ability to start an I.V. or give medicine. It had to do with only one thing, your pure, uncorrupted desire to care. You did not get paid for your efforts, you did not get a thank you, and there were no accolades. But one thing is for certain, when you finally did get home to your family, you felt great, you were satisfied. That dad, and his entire family, will always remember you and your name. Giving care is not just what you do. Giving care, connecting to others, empathizing with them, feeling the pain of others as your own, and then pouring on the compassion and doing whatever it takes to make things better is who you are. Activating your desire to care, taking responsibility for making the situation better, gives you heroic power. You are a hero.

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

You and all heroes all have one thing in common: You are hard-wired to care. Giving care makes you feel good, and it makes those you care for feel good as well. You may look ordinary, but because you act on your desire to care, you become larger than ordinary people. You actualize your desire by taking responsibility for the situation and asking how can I make it better?

You inspire me to do better. That is why I love working with you, even though we choose to work in the incredibly challenging environment we call the Emergency Department. It is here where we find a way to care for the angry, the entitled and the ungrateful – no matter what!

TAKE ACTION

Inspire me! Next time you’re finding it difficult at work, remind yourself why you are here, then show me how Diana Prince transforms into Wonder Woman and Clark Kent becomes Superman! Save our day Peter Parker! Show me how your care gets you the very best life has to offer!

When we engage our desire, it gives us great power. Today and every day, act on your desire to care. This is how we make all the difference in the world.

Do your best always,

Dr. Frank

 

 

Get More Satisfaction

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 July 21st, 2011 – This Shot of Satisfaction relates to Step 1 -REMEMBER what you came here for. Reconnect with your desire to care. Remember what you want from your work: the feeling good that comes from truly caring for others.


How can we move beyond our resentment of being blamed for a broken system, when we are already working so hard? The answer is simple but not easy: We will have to take 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction and find a way to deliver that satisfaction for our patients.

Can’t Get No, Satisfaction

As of July 1, 2011, the government will pay hospitals and health care providers based on our performance. This means Medicare and Medicaid payments will be based on hitting certain targets in our Core Measures and on our patient satisfaction surveys. As health care providers and institutions of health care, we are being asked to deliver more technical excellence and satisfaction to our patients.

Everyone wants to change for the better. The government is now forcing this change upon us. Yet these bureaucrats who are demanding change are not telling us how to deliver this satisfying care. For those of us who deliver care, it’s difficult not to feel resentful when the government demands, “Improve… or else!”

The situation reminds me of my dad demanding that I bring home a better report card, but not showing me how to make it happen. It felt bad when Dad said, “You’re not good enough.” It feels bad when the federal government says, “You are not caring enough.”

Taking responsibility for our satisfaction

So how can we move beyond our resentment of being blamed for a broken system, when we are already working so hard? The answer is simple but not easy: We will have to take 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction and find a way to deliver that satisfaction for our patients. There is no customer service guru or hospital administrator with a PhD in Economics who can help us. No one else is at the bedside of hurting humans when care is delivered. We are the only ones at the bedside, and we are the only ones who can hope to solve the problem.

We are all inherently resistant to change. But change is inevitable. Whether or not we want to accept it, things will only change when we change. So in order to succeed, we will need to transform ourselves into new people who think, speak and act differently. We will have to find a way to transform ourselves into even better people.

Whenever we want more from life and from our job, we have to leave our ordinary day, our ordinary ways and our ordinary thinking and step into the path of our own personal transformation. The first step on our journey starts with our desire for something better, our desire to feel good as a result of caring for others. We need to believe that there is a better way and that we can take that first step out of the ordinary and onto an extraordinary new path.

If we chose our careers to care for others and make a difference, then taking 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction in life and at work is the key our success. In order to succeed, the way we think will be more important than what we can see with our eyes, touch with our hands, prove to be true or what is logical or right. To get the “more” that we need, we will have to chase after it, invest in it, think about it, focus our sights directly on it and find a way to speak it and do it. 

It’s in our own best interest to change

To succeed in this new paradigm, we will need to focus directly on how we deliver our care. Care is not tangible. Care is the special ingredient in Mom’s chicken soup that gives it healing powers. Care is an energetic process that happens at the bedside when we connect with our patient, empathize with them, feel the pain they are experiencing as our own and activate our compassion for them.

This call to action from our federal government is our personal call to transform ourselves from health care workers who are primarily concerned with physical goods and services, to health care heroes who have their sights focused squarely on the one ingredient that we can’t touch: the intangible known as True Care. This is our opportunity.

The truth is that it is in our own best interest to refocus our care. It’s why we came here in the first place. It is in our best interest to let go of being right and start feeling right. It is in our best interest to clear our judgments or misconceptions of others and activate our tolerance and compassion. It is in our own best interest to reconnect with our pure, simple and uncorrupted desire to care, make a difference, change our world and save the day. It is in our best interest to choose to become the modern day heroes of health care, the ones our patients will remember as extraordinary, larger-than-life people who made a difference for them because of our care.

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

Adding and delivering True Care, along with the goods and services we already provide, will generate real and lasting satisfaction, quantum levels of satisfaction on both sides of the stethoscope.  Adding True Care into our daily experience of life and work is the missing ingredient that will give us the “more” from life that is demanded of us today.

TAKE ACTION

Heroes all have one thing in common. They are all regular people who reached their full potential. They were once ordinary, but through extreme pressure, they were transformed like coal into diamonds. Heroes must all go through a process to realize their special powers. Taking personal responsibility for change can and will transform your experience of this life in miraculous ways.

Today is the day that everything changes for us. Today is the day that something happens and if we choose to, we can begin the heroic work that will allow us to reach our full human potential. To achieve it, we all must begin doing the work of self-transformation that will allow us to be extraordinary people who deliver extraordinary care.

What could possibly be more satisfying than that?

Do Your Best Always,

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