Physician burnout is a major problem in the healthcare industry.
Burnout can lead to a number of negative consequences, including decreased patient satisfaction, increased medical errors, and higher rates of physician turnover.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a work-related mental state characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of personal accomplishment pertaining to the workplace.
It is often caused by chronic stress, can be strongly associated with depression, and can lead to a number of physical and mental health problems.
What causes burnout for doctors is a topic of some debate—but there are more than a few ideas for it:
- Work-life imbalance
- A heavy workload
- Work-related stress
- A lack of outside support
The consequences of burnout can be pretty negative. And reducing it is actually a really important part of helping your practice, hospital, or clinic to succeed.
But how do you do it?
That’s a great question. And in this article, you’re going to learn the top 5 strategies for making it happen.
1. Achieve A Sustainable Work-Life Balance
As a physician, you may need to find new ways to balance your work and personal life.
This may involve setting limits on your work hours, taking regular breaks, and scheduling time for relaxation and recreation.
2. Try To Maintain A Sustainable Workload
As a doctor, you likely already know that the workload can be overwhelming. Thus, you may need to communicate with the leadership of your institution, and work with them to find ways to reduce the workload—thereby helping you to find a way to make your job more sustainable in the long term.
This may involve:
- Hiring more staff to share the workload.
- Reducing the number of patients per physician.
- Providing more support services, such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants.
By reducing the workload, institutions can help physicians to provide better care for their patients and to avoid burnout.
3. Try To Reduce Your Overall Stress
As a doctor, you know that stress is a part of the job.
However, there are things you can do to reduce your stress levels and prevent burnout.
Here are a few tips:
- Set boundaries between work and personal life. This means not checking work email or answering work calls outside of work hours.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly.
- Find ways to relax and de-stress. This could include spending time with family and friends, reading, or listening to music.
- Seek help if you need it. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, don’t be afraid to seek help from a therapist or counselor.
4. Reach Out For Support
If you are feeling burnt out, it is important to reach out for help.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Talk to a trusted colleague. Sometimes, just talking to someone who understands what you are going through can be helpful.
- See a therapist or counselor. A therapist can help you to understand the causes of your burnout and to develop strategies for coping with it.
- Join a support group. There are many support groups available for doctors who are struggling with burnout. Talking to other doctors who are going through the same thing can be very helpful.
- Take some time for yourself. If you are feeling burnt out, it is important to take some time for yourself to relax and recharge. This could mean taking a vacation, spending time with loved ones, or doing something you enjoy.
5. Set Yourself Up For Emergencies
It’s really important for you to set yourself up for the possibility of an emergency.
This means setting aside money for an emergency fund, getting adequate insurance (even dentists can get disability insurance), and/or even making sure that you’ve got your retirement set up and in order so that you have an awesome, financially stable future to look forward to.
There you have it.
At the end of the day, the real goal is to do everything you can to reduce burnout so that you can continue to provide awesome patient care while also taking care of yourself in the process.
All that’s left now is to get out there and make it happen.
Just remember—it isn’t selfish to reduce burnout and care for yourself.
The most important thing is to take great care of yourself so that you can continue to do the amazing, meaningful work that you graduated from medical school to do.
Being a physician is massively important, and the world needs you.
So don’t burn out!