Beat Down Burnout

Getting Seen and Heard

Do you feel like you aren’t being seen or heard, especially at work? You aren’t alone. This has become a huge problem in the healthcare today. We speak out about the injustices against our patients, our coworkers, even ourselves. Yet, it’s as if no one hears us. Our words fall on deaf ears. You almost feel as if you’re speaking the wrong language. Maybe there’s some secret code or secret password that you need to get your ideas and your needs across to the decision makers, so that you can go about your job in a safe manner, or even so that you can save the lives of your patients. Do you know what I mean? Or worse than being not heard, you’re heard, and then there’s retaliation. Either because of the low emotional intelligence of the people involved, or because, once again, your words didn’t land correctly. What. The. Heck?! You’re just trying to take care of your patients.


For years I felt this way. I’ve felt as if other people knew a secret code for speaking with nurses and administrators, and I was somehow left out of that class in med school. Eventually, I got better at speaking with nurses and fellow physicians, but conversations with administrators continued to make me nervous, filled me with dread, and I likened them to being sent to the principal’s office. I never left feeling satisfied. I certainly didn’t feel as if I’d made a good case for my side of the story. An hour later, or the next day, I was thinking of things I wished I’d said, and feeling crummy about the meeting. It made me feel as if I weren’t a good physician. Or at least not as effective as I could be, and not the leader in Medicine that I should be. I couldn’t protect my team, or my patients, the way I wanted. I wasn’t able to advocate for them, or get equipment I wanted. I’m sure you’ve been there. Worse: sometimes, I brought down fire and brimstone upon my team for bringing attention to things that clearly needed to be brought up to safety guidelines. SMH.


Sometimes, it was almost as bad with my colleagues. Have you ever had difficulty negotiating for a fair and equitable call schedule? Sometimes you get warm, sunny, honorable person writing your call schedule, like my niece, who is in her anesthesia residency. I watch her struggle with this on the weekends she comes home to visit. She leads with her heart and truly wants to make things equitable for everyone. Other times, you get a dungeon master. Someone who trolls people in the group whom he or she dislikes. This is someone who needs an instant infusion of emotional intelligence. (I wish EQ worked that way).


The truth is that emotional intelligence can be learned, and there is a secret code. The secret code is knowing the core values of those coworkers and administrators whom you find difficult. It’s called their BANKCode. There’s a secret way of actively listening for their core values and their BANKCode that allows you to be better at negotiating with them, at setting boundaries with them, and at raising your emotional intelligence. That’s right, I said your emotional intelligence. If you raise your EQ, it helps you to deal with their EQ, no matter what their level is. That’s part of the secret. That’s our system.


You can bring up all kinds of arguments and say this isn’t going to work. However, I know that it does. I know for two reasons. First, I’ve lived it. I’ve experienced this myself and I know firsthand that it works. Secondly, I’ve coached other healthcare workers through their own trials, and I’ve watched them overcome them using this method. You can be next. More than that, I’m putting together an army of healthcare workers who are changing the culture of healthcare. We will no longer put up with the status quo of bullying and burnout. If you’re fed up with the incivility, the overwhelm and the lack of support, then join us. If you’re ready to be part of the solution, then join us. If you want more information, then reach out to me. I’m Dr. Nan Nuessle, and I’m here to help.

Nanette Nuessle