42% of physicians surveyed by Medscape reported feeling burnout.
We have all heard of physician burnout. Truth be told, many of you reading this are probably experiencing the stress that comes with it. Physicians are bogged down daily with the weight of regulatory burden, data entry requirements, and finding the time to do what physicians do best… heal.
There are many ways to spot, correct, and address physician burnout at your medical practice. One way to start this process is by modifying your environment. Here are three tactics to start changing your workplace to ease the stress of physician burnout…
As a physician, you are already sheltering a great deal of the workload at your practice. You are the primary healer for your patients and the advocate for their health. If you are the practice owner, you also harness the stress of keeping the doors open for patients, providing wages for your employees, and complying with government healthcare regulations. All of these elements stack up and can weigh down on any individual. If you have the opportunity to have a nurse, aid, or scribe begin taking notes, completing data entry work, or any other daily tasks for you, begin to do so. Start saying “no” when it is appropriate to free up some of your time. Eliminate some of your day to day tasks and you may find that you are eliminating some of the day to day stresses.
When advising patients on different ways to manage their health, we often provide them with a task management list to help them prioritize health outcomes. When you are looking towards eliminating office stressors, the best way to start is to create an activities list and arrange it by priorities. What activities need done now, what can wait until later, and what office personnel can help? A medical office is comprised of many individuals who are able to help work through these task lists. You just have to delegate, prioritize, and strategize.
Modernizing Workplace Practices
Technology continues to advance which puts more of a strain on physicians to implement new processes into their practices. A main complaint when it comes to burnout is system inefficiencies. These require a great deal of time to sort through, learn, and address. Dealing with system issues should not be the sole responsibility of the provider. There should be a dedicated office staff member who handles these bugs and works with the vendor. Physicians should be aware that such technical issues are taking place, however, the designated personnel should be handling the issue at hand.
Physician burnout is a struggle that many doctors are facing head on, but it is not a hardship that they must battle alone. When issues arise in the workplace, there is a solution, and sometime it is modifying your environment or your attitude to alleviate stress.