Burnout and Career Transition – Interview with Dr. Kernan Manion – 007

Understanding Burnout Is the First Step in Overcoming It

I’m very excited about presenting this interview with Dr. Kernan Manion in which he provides his insights on the interplay between physician burnout and career transition.

Dr. Kernan Manion is a psychiatrist, coach and consultant. He provides his coaching and consulting services through his company Work/Life Design. His primary coaching clients are physicians addressing career transition and/or burnout. He also provides consulting programs for hospitals and health systems.

Early in his career he worked with PTSD, stroke and head injury patients. In the interview, he describes his journey from practicing psychiatrist, through his own burnout, to coach and consultant.

physician burnout smoldering ashes

I learned about his work as I was preparing to launch this podcast. I had written about the factors that seemed to be triggering the explosion in physician career transition. And I devoted my second podcast episode to outlining the steps in such a career pivot.

Then I ran across an announcement on LinkedIn for Dr. Manion’s webinar addressing the Four Key Dynamics of Physician Career Transition and it really intrigued me. So, I reached out to him, had a few conversations and he agreed to an interview.


Kernan explains that burnout is an occupational stress syndrome that affects those in careers with direct personal interactions (physicians, nurses, therapists, etc.). It is characterized by three primary manifestations:

  • Exhaustion
    • Physical
    • Cognitive
    • Emotional
  • Detachment
    • Physical
    • Cognitive
    • Emotional
  • Reduced accomplishment (the sense of accomplishment and actual decreased productivity)

He discusses several very poignant examples from his own life and coaching experiences that demonstrate the destructive consequences of burnout.

Following that discussion, he provides insights into recognizing burnout and the personal actions we can take to prevent and eliminate it. He also discusses the importance of addressing its root causes, most of which are environmental rather than a result of poor resilience or inadequate coping skills.

Burnout and Career Transition

Dr. Manion discusses how burnout is just one of several factors that contribute to the decision to leave one’s clinical career. Through his model, the Four Essential Components of Successful Physician Career Transition, he provides a detailed description of the factors that influence the process:

  • Pain associated with our current circumstances driving us towards change;
  • Longing for a more meaningful career inspiring us;
  • Real world considerations preventing movement; and
  • Self myths that tell us we don’t have the “right” to change, or the necessary skills or intellect.

In Closing

I found this conversation to be very compelling. It helped me understand what burnout really is, and how it relates to career transition. I was impressed by Kernan’s mastery of the topic.

For listeners who find these topics to be intriguing, Kernan is planning two upcoming free webinars. These will be very useful for any physician experiencing burn out, or considering the pursuit of a new career.

The first one, on November 6, 2017, is focused on Physician Burnout. The November 13 webinar addresses the Four Quadrants of Successful Physician Career Transition.

To find out more or to register for the webinars, please contact Dr. Manion through his website at:

Kernan Manion, MD


Use the contact form on that page to contact Kernan about his webinars. Or, email him directly at:


 Or, you can go direct to the sign up pages here for…

Coming Up

On Episode 8 of Physician NonClinical Careers, I’ll be explaining Why and How You Must Use LinkedIn. It’s AMAZING how many successful career transitions begin on LinkedIn, especially those involving physicians.

If you enjoyed today’s episode please tell your friends about it. Go to iTunes and SUBSCRIBE. Thank’s again for joining me. I really appreciate your time and attention.

Let’s close with a quote, from Joan Baez:

physician burnout antidote joan baez quote

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