Physician burnout had been a challenge for several years, but the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Burnout is more prevalent among doctors than any other profession. Some physicians are facing extreme surges in Covid-19 patients, other are struggling to keep their practices open due to restrictions on elective surgeries and patients fearful of doctor’s offices during a pandemic. Physicians are being overworked, stressed, and burned out due to time constraints and regulations.
Hospitals that experienced overload at the heart of the pandemic are primed for physician burnout. Not only are they working long hours, stressed about their exposure or exposure to their families, but they are losing colleagues and watching them suffer for weeks. Watching someone you work with struggle for weeks on end to just breathe, and not being able to use your skills to help someone you know personally is difficult. Top that off with losing numerous patients, and a workload so heavy you have no time to grieve, and you have a perfect recipe for burnout.
Facilities that are proactive have implemented measures to help their staff through these difficult times, including helplines for them to be able to talk to someone who understands, and providing rental cars, free parking, free meals, and even hotel rooms and laundry service so they don’t have to worry about exposing their families.
Doctors have a deep desire to help those who are sick, and a pandemic will often cause them to work themselves to exhaustion attempting to save and help as many people as possible. This puts them at risk when they are operating with little sleep, improper nutrition, and extreme stress. Top that off with fear for their families and it is no wonder that there is a high rate of physician burnout during a pandemic.
With the flu season rapidly approaching, no one really knows whether we may be facing another surge in cases and more hospitalizations. Facilities need to be aware of the signs leading to physician burnout so they can quickly address the situation.
Causes of Physician Burnout
- Stress – Physicians operating under high stress are 15 times more likely to burnout
- Chaos – A chaotic environment makes it difficult for doctors to focus and increases stress
- Lack of Shared Values – Physicians who do not have the same values regarding medicine and patient care as their leadership face a lack of motivation
- Work-Life Interference – Performance is increased in physicians who find quality time for family, and stress is increased in those who miss family events
- Lack of Schedule Control – Long standardized hours must be customized to include flexibility for family life
- Lack of Self-Care – Physicians must take time for themselves to avoid burnout
Genesis Medical Management empowers medical practices to develop improvements in their operations to avoid physician burnout. They can help an organization to set meaningful goals, increase operational efficiencies, engage their clinical team, and improve patient care. Contact Genesis Medical Management today for more information.
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