Published 11/1/19 by Anastasia Iliou
Several studies have shown that about one out of every three physicians is experiencing high levels of stress and burnout. Everyone in the medical workplace is at risk for burnout, both physically and emotionally. You signed up for what is easily one of the most taxing careers on both the mind and body, and it is crucial that you remember to take care of yourself just as well as you are taking care of your patients.
Signs of Doctor Burnout
The Happy MD, a popular blog for doctors, lists three symptoms of physician burnout: exhaustion, cynicism, and doubt.
Think about how you felt when you first graduated from med school and compare it to how you feel today. Are you overworking yourself? Are you physically exhausted to the point where you’ve lost your ability to care about your work and your patients? Are you beginning to doubt your career path? Don’t make any rash decisions until you’re able to take a vacation!
Burnout can manifest differently in each person, but even mental health specialists who work with stressed and burnt out patients every day can miss the signs of exhaustion in themselves. When was the last time YOU saw a doctor and were completely honest about your exhaustion level?
You probably tell your patients all the time that it’s easier to solve any medical problem in its early stages, and the same is true for your burn out. The sooner you start to accept your problem and take steps towards positive change, the better.
Solving Physician Burnout
Solving the burnout problem may look different for you than for your partners. If you have the ability to do so, you may want to consider scaling back your practice hours. Or, maybe it’s time to bring in another physician.
Then again, if you are tied to someone else’s schedule, maybe it is time to consider opening your own practice or finding another position that allows you to set a better schedule.
If changing your hours is not an option right now, there are certainly other steps you can take. For starters, it may be time to take your own advice. You probably tell your patients all the time that they need to go to bed earlier, eat healthier, and exercise more, so why are you excused from the same practices? It’s time for you to take control of your own health.
You may be thinking, “but duty calls! My patients need me!” While it is quite admirable that you care enough about your work to set crazy hours for yourself and try to see as many patients as possible, how much care are you actually giving those patients? If you work twelve-hour shifts, is your quality of care the same in your 12th hour as it was in your first? There is danger there not only for you but for your patients as well.
Changes Private Practices Can Make Now
If you have a private practice, there are a few changes you can make NOW to curb your own exhaustion:
- Add more comfortable office furniture to your private quarters
- Keep your office free of any clutter
- Keep healthy snacks around for yourself and your staff.
- Encourage your staff to leave a bit more time between appointments
- Take a longer lunch break
- Hire extra administrative help or medical assistants for record-keeping
Hire Help for Doctor-Patient Communications
This is where we come in. Healthmatch.com is a third-party communications center for medical providers. We can work with your practice on any level that you choose. We can run call campaigns to schedule your patients for their annual wellness visits, we can take appointment reminders off your staff’s plate, we can mail flyers with important practice announcements to your patients, etc.
All of those pesky communication and marketing tasks that you and your staff don’t have time to deal with? Give them to HealthMatch.com!
Our implementation managers are eager to chat with you about what your practice needs. Give us a call at 1-844-551-1755 or complete this form, and we’ll be in touch.
Anastasia is the Senior Content Manager for HealthMatch.com. After majoring in Songwriting at Belmont University, Anastasia discovered a passion for long-form written content. In her spare time, she enjoys spoiling her two cats and two dogs.