Dr. Zubin Damania or ZDoggMD as he’s better known has almost made a full-time career out of making medical parody videos like these:
While most of his videos are a humorous look at the world of medicine he is still a doctor at heart and is concerned with the challenges that physicians face. He recently sat down with the American College of Emergency Physicians and CompHealth to talk about physician burnout, depression and other issues. Interestingly, creating the parody videos was a big step in him breaking out of the depression he had surrounding his job.
Early in his career Dr. Damania kept a journal, he would write about the experiences he was having and reflect on how great it was to be a physician. Over time he grew in his career and really thrived being a mentor to other physicians and loved that side of medicine. Years later, he realized that he had gone from being a mentor to just a machine. He no longer wrote in his journal and he had started seeing patients as problems to solve rather than people. The turning point came when a colleague asked him if he was happy. Once he was asked the question and really reflected on where his job was he realized that no, he wasn’t happy. His job was horrible and medicine had become a chore.
“I was so depressed that my wife was like, I’ve never seen you like this. You’re 35, what’s going on? Everyone around me was getting depressed. At the bottom of that depression, that’s when I made that decision, I need to live my story and I will find a way out of this but I have to build it myself, no one else is responsible. So, that’s when I started doing things like making videos and putting them on YouTube. Having a voice, continuing to work but trying to see things a little bit differently, read things about philosophy, trying to find a way to become more happy.”
The team and the environment also have a lot to do with how happy you are in your job.
“What tone is the team setting? You know when you come on a shift and you see that nurse, and that person and that person, and that RT, you’re going to have a good night. You know it. So what is it about that team environment? We can train and encourage and even codify in a way…it’s like an airline cockpit, you can throw a pilot a co-pilot and another guy in there who have never met and they can still work together seamlessly.”
Early in his career he had a lot of work diversity, which helped him from becoming complacent and from burning out.
“I really like the idea of introducing diversity into your career and locums is a great way to do that. I see it in hospital medicine as well. One of the great things about early in my career was that we rotated through hospitals so we were a couple weeks at Stanford, then we went to the community hospital, then we were in the clinic. And that diversity allowed us to constantly feel challenged and whenever we got tired or complacent in a particular place we moved to the other place.”
In addition to continuing to make funny videos Dr. Damania is also an in-demand speaker and advocate for improving healthcare for patients, physicians and all medical staff through something he calls Health 3.0. This commitment has made it into his videos as well often using music to focus on some of the harsh realities of healthcare as in the following video.