A new study released by the Archives of Internal Medicine indicates that physicians feel burned out by their professions more commonly than other workers in the United States.
The study, which was completed by 7,288 physicians nationwide, used the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which measures burnout as determined by lack of interest as well as general exhaustion. Doctor burnout varied by specialty, but the highest rates were among those considered the front line: family medicine, general internal medicine, and emergency medicine.
Burning out not only takes a toll on the person, but it also makes errors more common, taking a toll on patients as well. 30 percent of those surveyed indicated high depersonalization scores, which indicates they are viewing the patient more as an object or item rather than a person.
So how can you prevent yourself from burning out?
Here are 4 simple strategies to keep yourself authentically involved in your practice:
1. Find (or reconnect with) your passions. Try to think back to the last time you felt passionate, or satisfied taking care of your patients. Was it a certain type of medical condition? Was it a certain patient? Now try to capture that feeling in your daily schedule. Tell yourself that you will look to experience the satisfaction from _____. And in that blank, place whatever pleasant interaction you intend to encounter.
2. Continue your education. Doing so will remind you why you entered medicine to begin with and will ignite the fire beneath you. Allow yourself to continue researching specific fields of education that bring you joy. If you’re a family physician, but you enjoy detailed cancer research, then find avenues to learn more about it. Perhaps it won’t bring you specific daily assistance, but it’s a worthwhile personal endeavor.
3. Exercise. Yes, it’s a little cliche. You likely tell your patients this at least once every day because it works. You might need to schedule it in your day, but take time to go outside and walk around the building. The fresh air, the sun, the exercise, and the mental break will help you feel renewed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.
4. Relating to number 3. Have a lot of great sex, no I am not kidding. Getting your groove on can add up to 4 to 8 years of life. Want to learn more? Check out Mensjournal.com
Taking time for yourself as a physician will only better the quality of care that you’re able to provide your patients. Take note of the above four ideas and get started on a plan to prevent burn out.
So what do you do to prevent burnout?
Tell us your story and save another doctors life, we will thank you for it!