386: Cycle of Grief with Dr. Debbie Bradley

Doctor Me First Podcast

386: Cycle of Grief with Dr. Debbie Bradley

When staring burnout straight in the face, we can sometimes feel the push to jump off of the ledge and leave medicine in the dust.  So why don’t we? In…
September 19, 2022

386: Cycle of Grief with Dr. Debbie Bradley

When staring burnout straight in the face, we can sometimes feel the push to jump off of the ledge and leave medicine in the dust. 

So why don’t we?

In this episode, I chat with the amazing Dr. Debbie Bradley and her experience with walking away from medicine and her shift into something that brought her so much more gratification.

However, the process of walking away from a practice that you’ve been invested in for years is never easy and it is one that I often equate to the cycle of grief. For many of us, medicine is something that we’ve devoted a large chunk of our lives to, and the idea of leaving that behind – although it is gratifying – comes with a bit of a mourning process as we say goodbye and transition to the next chapter.

By allowing ourselves to experience the cycle of grief and feel all the feels that it brings with it, you open the door to finding your identity in who you actually are as opposed to what you’re doing. As doctors, we have to identify ourselves without our practice and that is very difficult after you have dedicated your time to becoming a doctor in your field of practice. 

Drawing a boundary for what is best for you and your mental, physical, and emotional health can be hard especially when it’s with something that you’ve dedicated your career to. But, that’s OK. Hard doesn’t make it wrong, hard is part of life. You will always take your experiences and knowledge with you to the next chapter and it will never completely leave you.

The other difficult component of being a physician and deciding to take a stand for yourself to move forward to the next best thing is often found in how it will impact others. Who will care for your patients? What about your team? These are difficult pills to swallow when you’re trying to do the best thing for you, but we have to continue to remind ourselves that we’ve served and will continue to serve others as doctors in whatever area we go to and it’s OK to leave people pleasing in the past and do what’s best for you

When you can show up as the best version of yourself and embrace your identity after overcoming the cycle of grief and the fear of failure, that is when you can be empowered to do your best work and advance the field of medicine. 

“I am the CEO of my life.” Dr. Debbie Bradley

In this episode:

[02:35] Welcome to the show, Dr. Debbie Bradley!

[03:34] She shares her background and what lights her up.

[04:34] She discusses her journey to where she is today.

[10:14] Dr. Bradley believes that women physicians are not good at knowing their worth.

[11:16] As long as she can remember she wanted to be a doctor, so thinking of doing something caused fear to surface.

[14:18] “Hard doesn’t make it wrong, hard is just a part of life.”

[15:53] Dr. Bradley talks about going through a period of anger when she resigned from clinical medicine.

[18:38] She discusses the feelings that surfaced like guilt and shame.

[21:13] She believes that in med school you are conditioned to be people pleasers.

[24:34] She shares how she feels about leaving clinical medicine as her end date approaches.

[28:42] She talks about what she thinks her next chapter will look like.

[32:05] She discusses her experience with the BadAss Group.

[35:46] Dr. Bradley gives shout-outs to the coaches and friends who have helped her along the way.

[39:11] If anyone is thinking about industry check out Dr. Nerissa.

[40:38] Thank you for listening!

Links and Resources

The Pharma IndustryMD Coach

Connect with Dr. Debbie Bradley

Debbie Bradley MD

Dr. Debbie Bradley

Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn


  1. Buy my Kindle Book,Doctor Me First, on Amazon
  2. Join us for our Monthly Burnout Masterclass Series.
  3. Come sit with me in the Badass Collective Slack Group.

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