Physician burnout continues to be a prevalent challenge in healthcare, with a substantial number of physicians reporting that with the additional challenges of COVID-19, increasing administrative duties, and new regulatory burdens, it is more difficult than ever to find time for themselves and their families.
According to a 2021 survey conducted by Medscape,1 79% of physicians experienced burnout prior to COVID-19 with the top specialties being Critical Care, Rheumatology, and Infectious Disease.
The top causes of burnout:
58% – Too many bureaucratic tasks
37% – Too many hours spent at work
37% – Lack of respect from administrators/employers, colleagues, or staff
32% – Insufficient compensation/reimbursement
Of the physicians surveyed, almost half (47%) stated that their burnout had a strong or severe impact on their life and over 70% of respondents considered their burnout strong enough to consider it having a moderate impact on their lives. One tenth of the respondents considered their burnout strong enough to consider leaving medicine all together.
What we know about burnout is that it can affect every area of a physician’s life in and outside of the workplace, and may result in:
Higher incidences of physician errors
Higher incidence of alcohol and drug abuse
Higher rate of depression
Physician and emotional exhaustion
Cynicism and detachment
Low sense of accomplishment
To counteract some of the frustrations and dissatisfaction, physicians need to set realistic goals for work-life balance and periodically assess their wellbeing.
Balancing work and life through exercise, social time with family and friends, and additional sleep can help manage stressors to prevent burnout. Physicians that have this balance are better role models for their children and families, as well as for patients and employees.
Remember to care for yourself first before you can care for others.
Feeling burned out at work? Find out what you can do when your job affects your health.
Mayo Clinic has a self-assessment tool and resources to help identify and take action against burnout.
For additional resources and support regarding burnout, or for any other practice-related challenges, contact My Practice at 213-473-8630 or email MyPractice@CAPphysicians.com for immediate assistance.
My Practice is a CAP member-exclusive program providing valuable services and resources to help you manage the business and operational side of your practice.
Andie Tena is CAP’s Director of Practice Management Services. Questions or comments related to this column should be directed to ATena@CAPphysicians.com.