There is a virus running rampant in the healthcare community today that impacts physician after physician. And it isn’t getting any better. It’s called physician burnout. In 2017, it reportedly affected approximately 51% of physicians. That’s up from 2013’s estimation of 40%. Out of every four doctors, at least three suffer from obesity, loss of sleep, and/or seriously reevaluate their career choice because of the effects of physician burnout. Is there a solution to this increasing epidemic?
The Impact of Physician Burnout
When a physician reaches the end of their rope because of working conditions that are too long, too hard, or both, the concept of physician burnout can become a reality. Even early in their careers, many doctors can experience depression or symptoms as a result. Sometimes, these effects can take place before a physician even graduates. Contributing factors range from working with problematic colleagues and patients and staggering debt to the burden of overly demanding bureaucratic tasks and more.
What happens when all of these factors weigh too heavily on a physician? As mentioned, many consider a career move – quitting their jobs. A more serious side effect, however, is suicide. Among medical students, the second leading cause of death is suicide.
Patients Also Suffer From The Effects of Physician Burnout
The families of physicians, and the doctors themselves, are not the only parties who suffer from the effects of physician burnout. Bad bedside manner; harried, irritable doctors lacking enough time; mistakes made because of overbooking and rushed timelines – these are just some of the problems suffered by negatively impacted patients. Other problems affecting patients could include (or have included) the following:
- Due to overly demanding schedules, physicians (over 50%) have simply referred patients to specialists or written rushed prescriptions.
- Compared to the amount of time they’d like to spend with a patient, 83% say they can’t do it due to time constraints.
- Though doctors want to give their patients the most advanced care available, many (almost 90%) aren’t aware of advances or new studies. They just can’t keep up because they don’t have the time.
Is There a Way to Combat Burnout?
Keeping physician burnout at bay can be as easy as forming seemingly small, but significant new habits. Here are some suggestions:
- Increasing your regular physical activity is essential. You must make time.
- Particularly at bedtime, at the end of every day, turn off all of your devices whenever possible.
- Every night, be sure to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
- “Me” time – make sure to set aside time to spend with your family, on special interests or hobbies, and relaxation.
Are you a physician who needs to evaluate just what it is you want from your career? Is it time to collect your thoughts, take a break, and find the right solution to physician burnout? Would you like to get back to your main focus – your patients and the practice of medicine? By working for Concierge Key Health, physicians can once again have a better life/work balance and greater flexibility. If you are a physician and would like more information on how Concierge Key Health can be of assistance, click here.