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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Dr. Nan Nuessle: Systemic Bullying, Burnout, and Using Communication That Values Speaker & Listener

Updated: Sep 28, 2022

If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:

Dr. Nan Nuessle first realized she was burnt out when she stopped at a stop sign and waited for it to turn green. She didn’t even process what she was waiting for until the truck behind her honked. At the time, Dr. Nan was working up to 110 hours per week, chairing the Department of Pediatrics at both a large, multidisciplinary clinic AND a nearby hospital, and raising two children with a husband who wasn’t pulling his weight. After realizing how burnt out she had become, Dr. Nan approached the Chief Medical Officer at her clinic and expressed her concerns….only to be told, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” Despite the incredible amount of hours and effort Dr. Nan was putting into her job, she was still met with backlash when she sought some basic support.

After this experience, Dr. Nan became a locum physician, or traveling physician. This new role helped relieve some of the stress that had been suffocating her in previous positions, since she didn’t feel the same crushing responsibility to keep her employer happy at her own expense. However, throughout her travels, Dr. Nan began to realize how rampant bullying was in the healthcare world. Disguised as “politics,” physicians everywhere were bullied back into line if they ever defied the demands of their administration. This inspired Dr. Nan to begin combating bullying at the organizational level. She founded her own company, Beat Down Burnout, which works to address bullying and burnout from a standpoint of communication, so everyone at a given workplace can feel like a valued member of their team.

Tune into this week’s episode of FRIED. The Burnout Podcast to learn more about how Dr. Nan works to reduce bullying in the workplace using the B.A.N.K. system of Personality Science. We discuss working with narcissists, the benefits and uses of meditation, and how to incorporate the principles of conflict resolution into all of your relationships, so you can meet people where they are.


  • “I first realized I was burnt out when I was driving home post-call, and I stopped at a four-way stop, and I waited for the sign to turn green.” (1:26-1:35)

  • “I went in to speak with the Chief Medical Officer at the clinic and told him, ‘I think I’m burnt out.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Well, what are you gonna do about it?’” (2:21-2:29)

  • “Everywhere I went, I saw bullying….Any time a physician stepped out of line of what administration wanted, these physicians were bullied back into line, myself included.” (8:09-8:28)

  • “80% of what occurs with burnout occurs at the organizational level.” (9:51-9:55)

  • “[Bullying] is both communication and action that doesn’t value the speaker or the listener, and it’s also communication and action that singles a person out to be treated differently.” (12:02-12:13)

  • “When I have a patient that I want to do something with that is not what the nurses and the staff are used to doing, I have to go print up three articles that show why it’s going to work….This drives me nuts because I just want to go do it...but I do, every time.” (32:32-33:33)

  • “With this training, I have learned a lot of tools to protect myself. I have learned to do what we call ‘be the cloud.’ So when somebody wants to be a narcissist, you learn to just let it flow through you and go on and be able to do your work. You have to learn at what point you just can’t. But that’s probably 25% [of the time] not 80%.” (38:10-38:39)

  • “Once you’ve been bullied, you become highly sensitive about it. And you sometimes need to know where to go to rebuild your strength, to rebuild your walls, to get the tools to get back to normal. And that’s hard.” (40:33-40:54)

  • “The Hawaiians have an attitude about the guy that cuts you off in traffic. They say, ‘If you don’t let at least two people in on your way to work and at least two people in on your way home, you’re not driving with aloha.’” (43:35-43:47)


Dr. Nan’s website:



If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today:


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