How Novant Health launched a 'leadership development' program to combat physician burnout

Tom Jenike, MD, chief human experience officer at Charlotte, N.C.-based Novant Health, spoke with athenaInsight about the leadership development program the health system established to help combat the physician-burnout crisis.

Inspired by his own experience with physician burnout and the feeling of being emotionally worn down, Dr. Jenike conceived of the leadership development program after becoming Novant Health's CHEO about three years ago.

Dr. Jenike used the health system's mission statement — "We will become world-class at caring for our people, so that they can be world-class at caring for our patients" — as the foundation of the leadership program.

"We specifically called it a leadership development program because it was about leading from the inside, leading your life," Dr. Jenike told athenaInsight. "That means know yourself: Know your patterns, know your habits, know your success model, know the impact of you on other people."

Dr. Jenike said the program, which has enrolled more than 800 physicians, focuses on two visions:

1. Participants will have a significantly enhanced experience of their life after spending three days with Novant Health

2. Participants will achieve the leadership experience, which means having access to their best selves and bringing that attitude into every room they occupy.

When dealing with physicians' frustrations over workflow that they can't control — such as EHR problems and changing reimbursement models — Dr. Jenike told athenaInsight Novant Health's approach is to restore hope.

"We don't want people to live in a state of resisting reality. There is power in choosing," Dr. Jenike said. "Given the way healthcare is right now, do you still want to do this? Is this still meaningful to you? And we've had some that say, 'No, I don't.' But most people say, 'Absolutely, I want to do it. And, I want to help.' So, it gets people to lean in."

If the physician can gain a sense of hopefulness and purpose through the program, he or she can channel that energy into motivation to wanting to make things better, Dr. Jenike said.

To read Dr. Jenike's interview with athenaInsightclick here.

More articles on integration and physician issues:
'Choose DO': AACOM launches new recruitment push
IHS reportedly employed several 'problem physicians,' WSJ finds
Why U.S. nurses are suffering 'work hangovers'

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