Physicians are doing a noble job in saving lives. In today’s time, many physicians are also over-worked with long stretched hours and very little rest. Some are on call 24/7. Also, once the doctor makes it within the four walls of the hospital, on busy days, they may not even get to rest or sit down. Patients to attend are everywhere, left and right in the hospital.
It is when physician burnout starts to happen. It refers to a measure of chronic stress associated with the medical profession. It’s not a psychiatric disorder. But, if it progresses and stays untreated, it’s not surprising that physician burnout may lead to depression.
Given their important role in society, you should not turn a blind eye to their needs. Physicians need to rest to avoid burnout. That way, they can be better, healthier, and happier physicians in the society they serve.
This article covers the signs of physician burnout and what you can do to prevent it.
The Signs Of Physician Burnout
Doctors today are getting burnt out in the workplace. Below are the symptoms of burnout in healthcare.
- Emotional Exhaustion
Emotional exhaustion is characterized by feeling emotionally depleted and worn out. Your mood is on the roof that it may seem so challenging to have that balanced state of happiness and contentment. Unfortunately, emotional exhaustion can hurt your relationships and even your productivity.
Here’s how you can tell that you’re emotionally exhausted:
- You’re easily irritated;
- You regularly experience fits of anxiety;
- You experience a sense of detachment from your family and friends.
- Poor Immunity And Somatic Complaints
When you’re stressed and burnt out, expect that your immunity may also start to suffer. The mind and body are closely related to each other. And stress and burnout can get the best of you. It is unfortunate, however, as doctors need to have the best immune system they can have. You can’t face your patients when you’re also sick, yourself.
So, if you start to notice your physical health suffering more often than it has in the past, this fact can be a sign of physician burnout. You need to take a break, relax, and give yourself the time to heal and relax.
- Low Sense Of Personal Accomplishment
The fact that you’re a doctor is already a significant personal accomplishment in itself. So, be proud of yourself. The patients who are thankful to you for healing them should also be your living testament to that. Having the days when you feel so tired, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the shoulder for a job well done. Congratulate yourself every time a patient heals or having a successful procedure.
Celebrating your small victories as a physician can boost your sense of accomplishment to stop you from feeling you aren’t a good doctor.
Tips On How To Prevent Physician Burnout
Now that you’re aware of the signs of physician burnout, it’s also considerable to learn the tips and tricks on how to prevent physicians from running on an empty tank. Here’s how:
- Find A Release, And Make Time For It
No matter how busy you may be as a physician, make it a point to find a release. It is a very personal approach as different doctors will have their respective means of relief and de-stressing. These can be done during instances when they aren’t on duty or on-call. As you love your patients, take the time to love yourself too.
Here’s how you can consistently practice prioritizing this mode of release:
- Find a support system. Your support system can be your co-doctors, children, family, or friends who understand what you’re going through. Take the time to go out with them outside of the hospital setting.
- Turn to social media. Technology is here to your advantage; it might be one of the best ways to find your release. When used correctly, social media doesn’t have to feel toxic. You can use this as an opportunity to connect with and finally have the time to talk with family and friends far away.
- Strive For More Work-Life Balance
Doctors on-call may find it challenging to have a good work balance. But, this doesn’t mean that you should always be working. Striving for a better work-life balance means you know when and how to limit your work hours. It can be as easy as never letting your job get in the way of family time.
For instance, you don’t have a schedule for surgery or rounds for the coming week. You promised your kids or someone to be with them in that time. Be with them the entire day; make sure you give them your full attention. Make arrangements with another physician to take your place in case an emergency comes.
Remember, you cannot save lives when you’re losing your own life.
- Streamline Tasks In The Computer
If you’re a physician who owns a clinic, you may want to find ways to improve how you run your clinic. It means streamlining tasks on your computer. If there are manual tasks you can now automate to make your clinic administration easier, then opt for those measures. Technology is there to your advantage, and it’s for you to maximize its full potential.
For instance, automating your patient records can take the stress out of retrieving and looking for information. You won’t have to add to your stressors about lost files. The same also applies when billing your patients. Having automated billing or accounting software will make it easier for you to manage and monitor your financial statements, especially when tax season for your clinic comes.
While physician burnout may be considered an epidemic, it can still be controlled and fixed. As you can see from above, there are many things you can do to counter and avoid physician burnout. When the first early telling signs of physician burnout shows, take action immediately. Don’t let it get to the point that the healthcare system collapses with doctors that now become patients. The guide above might help to your starting point of being fully enlightened about physician burnout.