Being a doctor is a tough job. You try to see as many patients as you can in a short a period of time, and an error in your decision-making process can have lifelong ramifications for those under your care.
This can lead to burnout, which oftentimes manifests in symptoms such as depression, distractedness and inattention, and a sense of detachment from the work that you do. You might also feel exhausted and emotionally unavailable, and you may feel as if your work simply doesn’t matter anymore. These symptoms can be hard to spot, too, given that they can slowly develop over time.
In many instances, physician burnout forces doctors to leave their profession. In others, the symptoms of burnout can result in a serious medical mistake that then leads to legal issues. If you want to avoid both of those outcomes, then you need to know how to get a handle on your burnout.
How to deal with physician burnout
Although it might feel like you’ll never get back into the swing of your job, there are things you can do to alleviate your burnout. This includes:
- Giving yourself more time: Poor work-life balance is a major contributor to burnout. However, finding this balance isn’t as easy as simply reducing the number of hours that you work, as doing so might create more stress as you’re left trying to figure out how to accomplish the same amount of work in less time. However, you might be able to achieve a better work-life balance by adjusting your work schedule or using a time banking system. Delegating certain duties to other staff can save you time and stress, too.
- Focusing on your priorities: It’s easy to lose perspective on the things that are important to us when we’re wrapped up in our daily work. But you might be able to reduce your sense of burnout if you can focus some of your time on your own priorities. This might be as simple as spending additional quality time with your family, or it could involve taking on a new hobby or rededicating yourself to an old one. These activities can lead to self-fulfillment that can help offset feelings of burnout.
- Utilize technology to your advantage: The implementation of electronic health records has created a lot of stress and dissatisfaction in the healthcare industry. While you might not be able to avoid this sort of technology, you might be able to find other technological tools that you can utilize to ease your stress and save you time. Telehealth, for example, can reduce no shows in your practice and allow you to see patients more efficiently. Technology like this can also provide you with additional flexibility. So, explore your options to see if there’s something out there that can help you and your practice.
- Focus on your health: Symptoms of burnout can lead to negative physical and mental health consequences. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. With that in mind, be cognizant of your diet, your sleep regimen, and your mental health. That way you can take action to secure the support necessary to keep a healthy body and mind.
Take control of your future
We know that feelings of burnout can be difficult to handle. But don’t despair. You can reinvigorate your career in a way that renews your interest in the profession. Hopefully, then you can continue making a difference in the lives of those who turn to you for help in their time of need.