Imagine a world where physicians can thrive and do the work they were called to do.

About – My Story

I experienced burnout, chose to leave clinical medicine, and crafted a new career. Today, I work with physicians and health care organizations to prevent burnout and create environments where clinicians can thrive.

I was drawn to medicine by my desire to create healing connections with patients – the kind of connections I saw when shadowing my mother, a nurse-midwife who founded two independent birth centers. 

But in training and practice, I found a health care system that often disempowered and disrespected patients, and was too often unsafe. The system itself was a barrier to connecting with patients. I eventually experienced burnout, although I didn’t recognize it until years later. I transitioned from primary care physician to freelance writer focusing on solutions to fix the ills of the health care system. Writing an article one day, I read the definition of professional burnout, and a light bulb went off. (See my post on this NPR health blog for more on that experience.) 

I began a journey to help educate others on the underlying causes of burnout, participating on a task force and expert panels, co-authoring a book, and penning a blog on the topic. Inspired to help effect change instead of just writing about it, I became a certified coach and now help physicians find their way back to joyful, satisfying careers and help organizations better address the system problems that drive physician burnout.

I know what it’s like to have a calling to practice medicine and to love connecting with patients, then find yourself exhausted, demoralized, and overwhelmed. I know what the stresses of clinical practice are like, and trying to balance a career in medicine with a personal life. I know what it’s like to be at that decision impasse: your clinical career is not working and yet you don’t know whether to leave or even if you can afford to.

While I made the best choice possible with the options available to me at the time, leaving clinical medicine was a loss. My mission is to expand the options so that physicians no longer need to choose between self-preservation and their chosen profession. 

I’d love to chat to see if I can help you. Contact me to set up a conversation.

“Working with Diane Shannon and seeing the impact she has by sharing her story is inspiring. She is teaching and helping others in a kind and compassionate manner, something we all benefit from.”

Sara Poplau, Operations Director, Office of Professional Worklife and Institute for Professional Worklife, Minneapolis, MN

Diane W. Shannon, MD, MPH, ACC

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Photography by Julia Snider and Kira M. Shannon


Copyright © 2020 Diane W. Shannon. All rights reserved.