Physicians don’t wake up one morning and realize they’re burned out. Burnout is usually the final stage of a long, slow process of exhaustion (per the National Institutes of Health). It’s important to understand because 42% of physicians report they’re burned out, and most of them say it started well before the pandemic. There are a lot of contributing factors and many ways to combat physician fatigue and dissatisfaction. Let’s start with technology.
The changes from technology are mostly positive, but the introduction of EHRs has increased anxiety and stress levels for physicians as a result of the lengthy work they perform after hours. It’s a significant contributor to burnout among physicians, and the data backs it: an average of 43% of doctors say they work six or more hours weekly doing after-hours charting (per a recent study). That percentage was even higher for some specialties: 60% of hematologists and oncologists and 53% of family and internal medicine doctors report excessive after-hours charting,
Fortunately, many hospitals and healthcare organizations have stepped up training and support for their EHR systems. Physicians across all specialties report lower levels of burnout among those who said their organizations had done a great job of implementing and supporting EHRs (per the same study).
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized work-related burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis in their official compendium of diseases. Physician recruiters have reported suffering from burnout, too. The reality is physicians want to spend more time caring for patients and less time advocating for the business of medicine. Your job as a physician recruiter can ensure your candidates are doing just that. Here are 5 ways to battle burnout and address wellness in physician candidates (and yourself):
- Prioritize wellness. AMA’s STEPS Forward program offers toolkits and strategies to engage health system leadership, understand physician burnout, and address it. The program helps recruiters and organizations learn how to develop a culture that supports physician well-being. The Mayo Clinic also has a program on physician well-being that evaluates personal, professional, and organizational factors influencing physician wellness, satisfaction, and well-being.
- Emphasize work/life balance. Show that your organization values cognitive work over keyboard clicking, and providers will be drawn to your opportunities! Recruitment only works if the job sounds desirable.
- Make time to relax! For physicians who need a relaxing activity or a way to practice mindfulness, there’s more than one app for that! Here’s a list of top favorites, rated by best medication, best apps for sleep, and more.
- Find a hobby or interest. A surprising number of doctors, including hundreds of Doximity members, have found their voice and joy in writing for Op-Med and other blogs.
- Rediscover what you love about your job. Most physicians became doctors to help people. Perhaps it’s time to try a new opportunity or town. Or maybe it’s time to measure the good instead of the bad. These 5 inspiring stories show how physicians have dedicated their time to helping others over the last year.
Doximity’s mission is to listen to what physicians need and then build simple tools to solve complex problems. Doctors enjoy being Doximity members because we’ve introduced new and improved tools year after year that make their lives better. You can learn more about What Doctors Do on Doximity (and Why They Love It) here.