The doctors, nurses and other medical professionals at your practice are no less prone to burnout than the rest of your employees. Last year, we posted a blog about how to avoid employee burnout; this time, we are looking to see if there is a difference between the admin and medical departments.
Numerous studies have found that nearly every medical and surgical specialty has one out of three physicians experiencing burnout at any given time. This number is staggeringly high.
What is Burnout?
After a particularly hard week, do you ever feel tired or (for lack of a better term) fried? Of course you do. If you are able to recover and return to work with the same energy you had before then great! If not, you may be experiencing something more than work-related stress.
The difference between stress and burnout is the ability to recover in your time off. If a physician is not able to recharge their batteries on their nights or days off, then something is wrong.
The three most common symptoms of physician burnout are:
- This includes feeling both physically and emotionally drained.
- Those who experience this will typically have a negative and cynical attitude toward their patients and their medical concerns.
- Reduced Accomplishment. This leads to feelings of your work lacking value and meaning.
The Consequences of Physician Burnout
Physician burnout has some pretty severe consequences, including:
- Lower patient satisfaction and quality of care
- Higher medical error rates and malpractice risk
- Higher physician and staff turnover
- Increase in alcohol and drug abuse
- Increase in physician suicide
How to Prevent Physician Burnout
Now that you know what it is, you can work to prevent it. According to an article in the Journal of Internal Medicine, there are 10 steps you can take to prevent burnout.
- Make clinician satisfaction and well-being quality indicators.
- Incorporate mindfulness and teamwork into your practice.
- Decrease stress with electronic health records.
- Allocate needed resources to primary care clinics to reduce disparities.
- Hire physician floats to cover predictable life events.
- Promote physician control of the work environment.
- Maintain manageable practice size and enhance staffing ratios.
- Preserve physician “career fit” with protected time for meaningful activities.
- Promote part-time careers and job sharing.
- Make self-care a part of medical professionalism.
Establishing preventative measures can help ensure your providers are taken care of.