Advanced Revenue Cycle Analytics: An Overview
Burnout is becoming a widespread epidemic among practicing physicians. This unfortunate phenomenon is largely caused by the increase of administrative duties now demanding physician attention. With the implementation of EHR systems that were designed without considering the needs of doctors, face to face patient time is matched or even overridden by screen time, just trying to click through to get the patient data needed.
Regardless of the causes of physician burnout, it is a problem. Doctors need to be aware of this problem and prepared to make the necessary changes in their lifestyle to keep from experiencing burnout themselves.
Here are some of the symptoms to identify if you or someone you know is experiencing physician burnout:
- Emotional exhaustion. This is more than just feeling tired after a long day at the office. This is a pervasive exhaustion that no amount of sleep seems to cut. Facing your patients day after day feels like a burden that threatens to break you.
- Depersonalization or cynicism. Perhaps you were once a physician who thrived on the doctor/patient relationships that you got to build, but now you find yourself irritable towards them. Patient blaming and a constant negative attitude towards your work have become your normal.
- Low sense of personal achievement. You no longer find any satisfaction in the work you are doing for your patients. You may even have begun to lose confidence in your abilities, or you may wonder why you are practicing medicine at all.
If this list of symptoms strikes a chord, have no fear. While the causes of physician burnout should be addressed and solved to cultivate a medical environment that is long-lasting and beneficial for all, there are steps to take in the meantime to reduce the symptoms of burnout and return to a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. Cultivate habits of a healthy lifestyle
The irony of being a physician is that while your job is to ensure that your patients are living healthy lifestyles, it can be extremely difficult to practice those habits in your own life. The busy schedule of a physician, combined with the natural pressure of the job, can lead many physicians to get lost in the job and neglect their own health.
To prevent burnout, establish healthy habits in your own life. Remember, your health is actually vital to the health of your patients. Take time each week to go for a run or a workout class. Choose to eat healthy instead of on-the-go meals that can harm your body. While you are concerned for your patients’ health, the person whose health you should be most concerned with is your own.
2. Take time to be with the people you love
One way you can prevent becoming emotionally exhausted and cynical is to fill up your emotional tank by spending time with loved ones.
While it is important to care for your patients well, those relationships are one-sided. You are constantly with people who need something from you. As someone who helps people professionally, you need to take time to be in relationship with people who will give back to you.
Spending time with friends or family members helps you feel more fulfilled in life, so it is important not to let your work as a physician push those relationships to the side.
3. Make a list of the things you can and can’t control at work
If you are a practicing physician, you are good at what you do. After all, you dedicated years of your life in medical school to become specialized in your specific field. As someone who is good at what you do, it can be frustrating when things go wrong. And in medicine, where the stakes are higher, things can go wrong a lot.
If you list out the factors that are under your control vs. the things you can control, it will help you keep calm when things go awry. You can remain confident that you are highly skilled and doing the best you can with the patients and situations you have been given.
4. Remember why you chose to practice medicine
Ultimately, many of the factors of burnout can be traced back to physicians forgetting why they began practicing medicine in the first place. While there are many frustrations with the way the medical world operates today, if you remember your motivation for being in this field, you can persevere.
If you want to learn more about the causes of physician burnout, download our whitepaper, Increase in Physician Burnout Attributed to Electronic Medical Records.