Hey guys, welcome to the show. We are so excited to have you with us today. We're just going to give you a little bit of background information on your hosts so you can get to know us a little bit better. So we'll start with Dr. Dinsmore.
(Dinsmore) Well, hello. My name is Dr. Amanda Dinsmore. I trained, I went to medical school at the University of Oklahoma. I ended up doing…I couples matched with my husband as well. He wasn't my husband at the time, but we couples matched at Wake Forest. He's an anesthesiologist; I'm an emergency physician. And we then moved to Springfield, Missouri. There was one extra year that I had while he was still training. So we ended up staying in Winston-Salem for four years because anesthesia’s four years. And then we moved to Springfield, Missouri, which is a lot closer. Most of our family is in Oklahoma. So we got a lot closer back to Oklahoma, but not all the way. Eventually we got married in residency, our second or third year. And then once we started our real jobs, then I had two boys. They're currently 14 and 11. They're amazing. So I'm a boy mom, lots of fart jokes and those sorts of things, the rowdiness in my house. We'll talk to you a little bit about our journey and how we got to the place where we're in and why we're doing this podcast. I forever just followed the recipe for what I thought would lead to success. I did well in school. Went to college, did well there. Then next step is medical school, and next step straight into residency. Straight, you know, next step, get a job, get married, have kids. And at some point, though, I was not enjoying myself.
I fell into a lot of perfectionist tendencies. I started finding myself in very all-or-nothing thinking. If I missed, you know, God forbid, in a very busy emergency department, as I got older, I had a harder and harder time forgiving myself for being human. And it just seemed more and more grave with each bad thing that happened in the emergency department- where bad things happen all of the time. But I was finding myself just not getting over it very well. And now I know it's a lot of the things that I was telling myself and what I was making it mean, but I didn't know that at the time. At the time, I was not aware of anything available to help with my mental health other than just push down the feelings and tough it out. I became a professional feeling-stuffer, and I was using food to help with feelings. I was using wine. I was using television, like binge-watching all of the Real Housewives of every city. I was very familiar with all of them, just anything to numb out my shift. And finally, I had a couple events in the emergency department where it just…I was ruminating, I wasn't sleeping. I was thinking about everything that went wrong all of the time. And I started getting psychosomatic symptoms at work. I started breaking out in hives at work, and I would joke around with, we had college kids that were our scribes, and I would joke around like, oh, I'm getting allergic to work. No, but I really am. I really am getting allergic to work, but I was so embarrassed. If you thought that I had compassion for that. No, it was the opposite. I was horrified, so I would just bring histamines or whatever to work.
And eventually I had a weekend where I got shingles, I cut open my ankle, and I got the worst case of chiggers in the nether regions that I've ever had in my life. And I started thinking- what if this is a sign from the universe, and the plagues are never going to stop until I start making some changes. So I was like, once that finally happened, I was like, okay, something, something has to change. I felt stuck for so long. I felt trapped. I lived in a town where I couldn't do a different residency. I just felt like I couldn't quit, but like, I couldn't change anything either. But turns out that was just a thought that I was telling myself. It had become a belief, but once the plague happened, there was enough pain that I started looking for a different path. I just knew that I needed to try something else. I didn't know where it was going to go, but I knew this: if I didn't try anything, I was going to stay stuck forever. And I didn't know how many more plagues were going to come, and I did not want any more. So I ended up, like immediately, found a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, through the University of Arizona that I could do online. I wouldn't have to leave my family and all of that.
I started that journey, and a lot of integrative medicine has to do with you must follow this path as well. You can't just tell people to take care of themselves, and you don't take care of yourself. And that really landed with me like, oh my God. I’ve studied hours and hours and hours of how to take care of somebody else, but I really don't know what I'm doing. Like I obviously, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm miserable right now. So I started with that and I really didn't know if I was going to open a practice, if I was even going to use it. I just knew that I wouldn't be a worse physician for doing the Fellowship. And so it turns out that I ended up finding coaching in the middle of that. There is a, you can go on and health coaching through the university of Arizona, but I had started listening to podcasts and knew I wanted to do it, but not wait until I was finished with my fellowship. So I did get certified as a professional coach, and the tools that I learned changed me.
Like it just has made a tremendous difference in my life. So much so, and I've seen it in so many other people, that I knew that I had to help my people. And my favorite people are my coworkers, my co-physicians. So that's why I'm here now. I want to teach everything that I've learned because it's made a difference for me and other people. And it's time for me to share what I know and help others. If I can help even one person not go through hives or the plague, then it's been good. So I'm going to pass the baton to Dr. Kendra Morrison, my partner, and she can share her story.
(Morrison) Thanks. That was also so funny. I hear that story every time you tell it. It's so funny. Not that you had to suffer like that, but it really was like an abundance of plagues. So I'm Kendra Morrison. I am also a board certified Emergency Medicine physician and have been working in the same busy level one trauma as Dr. Dinsmore and, find myself in a similar situation as well. My journey begins with the same- always very focused, very driven, very determined. Graduate high school, go to college. College got you ready for med school. Med school, residency, and then your future career. And as I continued into that career, I found it extremely difficult to balance everything from one time to the next in different seasons.
However, there came a time when the career that I had stressed most of my life to achieve, eventually was just making me angry and in a bad mood. I felt dread going to shifts. I felt that there was more to this, that I had arrived, but why I was not happy? Was really confusing at the time. So I also began to do some introspective, basically soul searching and figuring out, you know, at this point in my career- is this it? It can't be it. And I can't be this angry all the time. I can't be this disappointed. I can't feel this discouraged. And I felt like all of this time, effort, work was not exactly what I had thought it was going to be. So I also began to talk to Amanda. I actually had resigned from our emergency department. I walked out, and I began to have discussions with Amanda. She started her fellowship and I began also looking into ways to start doing self support, self care.
One of the things I think that was the motivation was the fear. I think all of us as physicians find ourselves in that position where we can not disclose. We feel that there could be some report to a medical board, or just fear of having a stigma of having some kind of mental health diagnosis, et cetera, et cetera. So I felt like as scientists are always taught, we do research and we find an answer. So the last few years we have been not only getting ourselves certified, but also working through from the ground up to prioritize our own self-care. And that has definitely overflowed into not only our careers, but home life and into other relationships. So, as Amanda said, there have been many turning points in my life at different stages, but I felt like once I committed to this turning point and making self-care a priority, once I began to unpack, not only really some of the hidden motivations for why I became a physician, and now it has even propelled me into this next step of wanting to help my colleagues. I began to realize that, yes, I did get into becoming a physician to help others. And now what an amazing opportunity to support and encourage and build up my colleagues, the very people that are in the trenches with us that come in day in and day out and continue to grind and continue to take care of others.
And now we have these amazing tools that we can use to support each other. So that is my why. I also am married to a physician, a crazy two physician household. I also have two children. 16 and 11, which keeps me on my toes with all the activities. But I think more than anything, I have realized that everything that we have learned over the last couple of years, all the research we've done, all the certifications, educating ourselves, has only overflowed into all of my relationships and has been quite the rewarding and fantastic positive change that I've seen in my family and my marriage and my work. And now I'm looking very forward to paying it forward. So nice to have you guys on this podcast and joining us today. And I will now hand it over to my lovely partner, Dr. Cazier.
(Cazier) Thank you. So I am also a board certified emergency physician. Amanda and I were in the same residency class. We were 100% of the women in that class and went our separate ways after residency, but joined back together as we both kind of were exploring different opportunities to add to our careers and medicine. I actually was a psychology major in college. I thought that I was going to be a clinical psychologist. That was my plan but got to my last year of college and realized I'd written every paper I'd ever done the night before, and maybe six years writing a dissertation wasn't going to be my cup of tea.
So I decided to go to medical school instead. I'd always loved science and I knew I could use psychology and help people. If I went to medical school, it would be more structured, which better suits my learning style. So went to medical school at the Medical College of Georgia and met my husband there. And we also couples matched at Wake Forest. He's also an anesthesiologist. Wake is awesome for anesthesia and emergency medicine. So it was a great fit for us. And after residency, we settled in Huntsville, Alabama, where we have four awesome kids. We have a lot of busy stuff going on in our lives, and I practice emergency medicine.
Couple of years after we got here was when I really hit my wall of burnout. I had, at that time, two little kids, really small and was, you know, I was married to an anesthesiologist. So he has to be at work at 6:00. It's not so easy to find a nanny who can come at six in the morning. So I was pulling a lot of the mid shifts and getting off late.
Well, I know one pod that I worked in a lot ended at 1:00, so there was no relief for that pod. And so I'd often be there till like 2:00, 3:00, sometimes even 4:00 in the morning coming home at crazy hours and then having to get up with kids at 6:00 in the morning. And I just began to lose my mind, because you know, you can't stay sane on no sleep.
Work was crazy. We were super short staffed. There were, there were nursing shortages, doctor shortages, and it just felt, it felt dangerous sometimes to be at work. And I know, I know most of us have had that feeling where everyone's just way too sick and everyone is spread way too thin. And it's just scary. And I got to the point, I was like, what am I doing? This is horrible. I am shortening my life, and I'm miserable. I don't like the person I am. So I quit for like three years. I quit emergency medicine. I remember the discussion I had with my medical director before I quit. She was like, you may never be able to come back. And I was like, I don't care. I don't care if I never see this place again. And at that time I meant it.
But over that three-year period, I realized that medicine had become, in a real way, a lot of who I am. I love the challenge of emergency medicine. I love the puzzle solving, how we get to be the ones fresh on the case. Every time to be able to try to find a diagnosis and help people that I just, and I love interacting with the patients. So I decided to go back and still had some of the same thoughts about work that I had previously. But over time, I have learned how to really love, love my job and love really all of it.
A big part of that has been these tools that we've learned through coach training. The tools that we learned really help us make sense, not just of work, but it helps us make sense of life and helps us understand our brains better, helps us to be more adaptable. We're all resilient already. Otherwise we wouldn't have made it through residency training, but to really come into any circumstance and know how to manage our minds around it is a tremendous skill that I'm continuing to develop. And I love being able to help other people develop that as well. There's nothing more powerful to create a beautiful life that is the life that you want. And then learning how to manage our minds and use our brains to our advantage. So I'm super excited to be able to share these tools. I love coaching other physicians when we, so many of us, struggle with some of the same things, imposter syndrome, perfectionism, shaming ourselves. Because we work in a culture of shame, and I love being able to help unpack that, and debunk it and neutralize it and show it for what it really is. And it's just all thoughts. So anyway, super excited to be here with you guys.
(Dinsmore) I love that you mentioned shame too. No matter how unhappy I was or how struggling I was, I didn't talk about it. I just pushed it down, and I feel like I learned that from medical training. Just like we don't talk about when we make mistakes, and we don't talk about being weak, you know, all of that. We're all feeling the same thing. It's so crazy to me that it took plagues for me to figure that out. And I just feel like the more that we talk about it, the more we'll normalize it. And that's why I love that we're doing this because man, I would come out of some shifts, like just shell shocked. But I didn't know that there was anything to help. And so that's kind of what the idea behind this is to normalize it and get you home in a better place than when you got in the car after your shift or vice versa, get you in a good place before work. Or while you're doing laundry or whatever, I just, there's so much out there that we can help people with, and I'm excited to share it.
(Cazier) Yeah. Well, and when you say you didn't know, there was a place to get help. They're really, to my mind, there really wasn't, because no one could understand and you didn't feel safe talking about it with other docs, and there wasn't, you're not going to go…
I mean, I, wasn't going to go talk to a therapist about it. Cause the therapist doesn't understand what we see and do all the time.
(Dinsmore) Yeah. I'm sure there are some, but I have had clients that were like, I even tried that, but I just wanted to talk to a peer. I just wanted to talk to somebody who had been through what I had been through. You know, nobody talked about it, but we were all feeling it.
Now I know this, shame is only allowed to persist if you're not talking about it, it's when you're pushing it down into the dark place, then it can thrive and take over your life, but we'll get into all of that.
(Morrison) So we are very grateful that you have found us on this podcast and look forward to sharing many more stories and collaborations, not only as your colleague, but also your friend. You are amazing, brilliant, and have so much to offer this world. We're going to unpack these common struggles over the next few weeks and equip you with powerful tools so you also can see how brilliant, amazing, and wonderful you are to medicine, to your family and most importantly to you. We love you and cherish your beautiful soul. See you next time. Bye.