Physician Burnout is Real, But Something Can be Done About It

... Credit :
Jane Taylor in Health & Wealth

Last updated: 16 January 2020, 09:04 GMT

Being a doctor is hard work. In fact, it is consistently rated as one of the toughest and most draining professions.

With that said, many hospitals and healthcare institutions are performing research to try and do something about the problem of physician burnout. In fact, the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine recently published a plan for helping organizations to address and deal effectively with the problem of physician burnout.

Why Do Physicians Experience Burnout?

For those not familiar with the organization, it is made up of medical educators, teachers, and researchers within the field. They strive to make positive advancements in health care and in healthcare organizations, and their plan for targeting physician burnout is just one in a long list of many such endeavors.

However, this particular endeavor has earned the organization accolades and support from such prestigious organizations as the Association of American Medical Colleges.

So, with that said, what does this charter to address physician burnout consist of? Well, it’s actually more a list of commitments that people must make at different levels to keep burnout at bay.

These commitments start with societal commitments, which include:

  1. Creating a trustworthy and supportive environment
  2. Advocating for policies that support the well-being of physicians


There are also organization-wide commitments to follow, including:

  1. Building supportive systems
  2. Developing engaged leadership
  3. Creating high-functioning interprofessional teams


Finally, there are individual and personal commitments to be made, such as:

  1. Anticipating and responding to the emotional difficulties faced by physicians
  2. Making mental health care a priority
  3. Practicing self-care

When applied, these commitments can make a big difference for physicians and, by extension, their workplaces, and their patients as well.

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Other Tips for Handling Burnout

Whether you’re a physician yourself or not, you should know that burnout is potentially a real problem within any career field.

Fortunately, though, there are many things that you can do to help prevent burnout in yourself. Following the tips detailed above is a great start, but there’s still a whole lot more that you can do.

Know the Warning Signs of Burnout

The first and most important thing of all is to know the warning signs of burnout.

After all, if you don’t know what it is you’re experiencing, how can you be expected to fix it?


As such, be on the lookout for these indicators that your burnout level is high:

  1. You’re consistently feeling overly stressed or anxious
  2. You don’t feel engaged or motivated about or at work
  3. Irritability
  4. Engaging in harmful habits, such as drinking or smoking in an attempt to reduce stress
  5. Feeling consistently exhausted
  6. Being overly critical of yourself and others
  7. Getting sick more often
  8. Not feeling motivated to take care of or groom yourself


All of these are signs that you are devoting too much time to work and not enough time for you. Fortunately, by noticing these signs, you can get on a path to stop burnout for good.

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Remember Why You Do What You Do

One of the major reasons that people end up feeling burnt out is because they have lost interest in and passion for their work.

If this is you and you’re feeling like your work doesn’t matter or like you don’t know why you bother at all, take a deep breath.

Go somewhere quiet, and think about your chosen career. Remind yourself why it is you do what you do. Remind yourself of the good things that work brings into your life and the life of others.

If you can refocus your attention and remember the things you do like about your job, you can overcome those feelings of burnout and get your passion back.

Learn to Say No More Often

Another way to stop burnout in its tracks is to learn to say “no” and to say it often.

So many times, people get burnt out because they’re taking on too much and aren’t taking enough time out for themselves.

If someone asks you to do something that you genuinely don’t have time for, a simple “no, I can’t do that” is fine to say. So many people think others will be upset with them if they say no, but sometimes, you have to do it to preserve your sanity.

Do only what is truly important to you and/or what absolutely has to be done. The rest can wait or get done by someone else if it has to.

Remember, you are just one person, and you can’t do everything, nor should you have to.

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Take Care of Yourself and Your Health

One final thing to remember is that burnout is a lot more likely if you aren’t taking care of yourself properly.

Make sure you are eating healthily, getting plenty of exercises, and getting enough sleep at night. If you prioritize your health and wellbeing, everything else should fall into place.

Remember, burnout is a real thing, but you can work hard to combat it and end up winning.

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