Physician burnout is a significant issue that presents serious challenges among medical professionals. Over 40% of all doctors report burnout, along with physical and mental symptoms. They often find their personal life and relationships affected as well.
Physician burnout statistics show that doctors are likely to commit serious medical errors due to burnout. Practices should consider the mental health of their physicians to reduce this threat.
This article will define physician burnout and its symptoms. It will also explain how to help physician burnout in practical ways.
So what causes physician burnout? Let's have a look at some problems that contribute to this issue.
What Causes Physician Burnout?Electronic medical records are a vital part of the planning and evaluating of a patient. Yet, federal and state laws also enforce specific regulations on health professionals.
Sometimes these laws cause physicians to deal with duplicate or inconsistent rules. Heeding these laws can be burdensome and time-consuming. Thus, doctors report charting and paperwork as the primary source of their burnout.
Doctors spend years in medical school hoping that they will make a difference in their patients' lives. They are likely disappointed when they learn all the clerical work that makes up the job.
Studies show that for every hour a doctor spends with a patient, they may spend up to five hours doing other tasks. During shifts, some physicians spend up about half of their time using the computer. Spending hours at their desk is frustrating because they prefer to use their knowledge to help the sick or injured.
Reducing the time that doctors spend using the computer would also positively affect patient care, reduce stress, and leave time for continuing education.
What Are the Signs of Physician Burnout?The World Health Organization and other organizations define physician burnout as a syndrome. Burnout is a measure of chronic distress linked to your job.
According to a physician burnout study, there are three main components. These include:
- Emotional exhaustion, causing irritability and feelings of sadness
- Pessimism and depersonalization in those who are generally empathetic and positive
- Low sense of achievement at work, dissatisfaction, and increased errors
What Can You Do About Physician Burnout?The best way to combat physician burnout is by focusing on solutions on many levels. Here are some practical steps that doctors and healthcare institutions can take to promote mental health.
Approaches at a Personal LevelPhysicians have busy schedules, leading them to neglect their health. Experts encourage health care professionals to develop a self-care plan to combat burnout. This plan may include the following:
- making time for hobbies
- Spending time with family and friends
- Getting adequate sleep
- Practicing mindfulness
Approaches in the WorkplacePhysicians should set clear boundaries about their scheduling, work week, and patient volume. They lessen their workload and reduce stress when they are firm about their off-time.
Some administrators set aside time for mindfulness, teamwork, and coaching for challenging situations. These practices can bring light to the issues that clinicians face.
Moreover, physicians can schedule time throughout the day for charting and administrative work. They can also increase the time spent with each patient. This allows them to chart during the visit without feeling rushed.
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