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Stimulus | Helping Doctors overcome burnout, excel in leadership, and unlock their most fulfilling careers

Oct 5, 2020

NY Times bestselling author Michele Harper, MD on setting boundaries, pre-shift routines, guarding the vulnerable, microaggressions, racism in the emergency department, and why inaction is just as much a choice as action. 

Guest Bio: Dr. Michele Harper, is an emergency physician and author of The New York Times best selling memoir, The Beauty in Breaking. She's been interviewed on Trevor Noah, Fresh Air, CNN, NBC, amongst many others. Michele is also a widely published essayist, often focusing on race and medicine. Her writing shares her personal journey that started as a child in an abusive household, then to undergrad at Harvard, medical school at Stony Brook, New York, and now her life as an attending physician. And as you'll hear, she's got a personal mission to be a guardian for the vulnerable.

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We discuss:

  • The importance of setting boundaries, especially when people are able to reach you 24/7 [03:20];
  • Her essay, “Sovereign Bodies” (The Cut), where Michelle shares a story demonstrating how difficult it can be for patients and providers to get the help they need [07:15];
  • Michele’s pregame routine before a shift in the ED (which includes probiotic chai tea and Eckhart Tolle) [12:00];
  • How growing up in an abusive household groomed Michele for a career in emergency medicine [16:45];
  • Why loving medicine is not enough to keep you in the game [19:15];
  • Patients who have a special place in Michele’s heart:  children and anyone who might be in danger [23:00];
  • An excerpt from The Beauty in Breaking which explores the notion that we can find our center through chaos and by transcending difficult experiences [30:15];
  • How meditation and yoga help Michele remain still and steady in moments of chaos [32:15];
  • Why there’s nothing “micro” about microaggressions [36:00];
  • How it’s not the job of the victim to plant a seed of understanding for someone who delivers a microaggression [38:10];
  • Why people who are in a position of power need to try harder to prevent and correct indignities [43:30]; 
  • Her article “When This War Is Over, Many of Us Will Leave Medicine” (Elemental) which presents the idea that “healthcare providers are regarded as more disposable than our PPE” [44:30];
  • Michele’s call to action [50:45];
  • And more.

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