The economics of physician wellness is worth your investment.
The total cost of clinician burnout includes not just the clinicians who leave, but also the ones who stay but aren’t able to perform at their optimal level.
Burnout by career stage
|Early Career (0-10 years)
|Middle Career (11-20 years)
|Late Career (≥21 years)
What burnout looks like
|Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion
|• Decrease in productivity metrics
• More likely to make medical errors
• Sluggish in accomplishing tasks at work
• Uptick in negative interactions with team members
|• Inhibited bedside manner
• Struggles to connect with patients
• Exhibits indifference toward patient concerns
|Feeling of decreased personal achievement
|• Low self-esteem
• Second-guesses their diagnoses and care
• Seems disconnected from their purpose
|• Calls in sick
• Complains of headaches
• Changes in eating habits
5 steps to start addressing physician burnout
1. Make a commitment to becoming more aware of physician burnout and raising awareness of those around you.
Physician burnout is not a new problem, and yet it’s one many people still struggle to see except in its most extreme presentation. By increasing your own awareness and that of those around you, you will be better able to observe and evaluate with an open mind.
2. Use your position to advance physician well-being.
Leadership is often listed as a significant factor in physician burnout. By becoming an advocate, you will not only reduce one of the underlying causes of burnout, but also increase support for your physicians.
3. Find physician champions.
Your influence and resolve as a leader is imperative, but the big gest impact comes from physicians themselves. Find physicians who are passionate about caring for their colleagues and partner with them to make meaningful changes.
4. Start early.
New residents and attendings are often in the most need of support. By providing comprehensive onboarding, mentorship programs, and targeted wellness training, you can help to build better habits early in ph ysicians’ careers.
5. Provide resources to address physician burnout without charge.
There are organizations that partner with hospitals and health systems to provide resources specifically for physicians to address the symptoms and root causes of burnout and increase overall wellness.