Health & Wellness

Recognizing the Causes of Physician Burnout

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Posted By Emma Aaron

Many professionals experience burnout at some point in their careers; however, certain professions are more likely to share it. If not addressed, burnout can have several unpleasant personal and professional consequences, including the resignation of some physicians from the field. By recognizing and avoiding the common causes of burnout, physicians in all specialties can continue to enjoy their jobs and feel refreshed and revitalized.

What is physician burnout?

For any professional, burnout refers to complete exhaustion, both physically and psychologically. As a result, the person may no longer believe they can meet the job’s high demands and may wish to resign. While burnout is not technically a psychological disorder, it can result in psychological and emotional issues such as depression and anxiety if not addressed promptly.

Because of the high demands of their jobs, physicians are more likely to burn out early in their careers. Physician burnout manifests itself in various ways, but many practitioners define it as feeling as if their batteries have been worn out or depleted.

What are the causes of physician burnout?

There are numerous causes of professional burnout. These can be based on the physician’s mental outlook and personality and mitigating factors, such as the area of expertise in which the physician practices. In addition, personal characteristics such as self-criticism or obsession with perfection at work can hasten burnout. However, most of the factors are associated with the work itself or how the health care institution is operated.

The specialty area and workload

The medical professional-specific practice area has stressors that can intensify burnout. For example, some physicians must work on-call or overnight shifts more frequently than their colleagues. Others do not earn as much as their colleagues despite working longer hours. Health organizations can help reduce physician burnout by consulting a locum tenens agency to recruit the right people to work under a less stressful work setup.

The nature of the medical field

The nature of the field heavily influences burnout. Physicians constantly work with physically and emotionally needy patients; many are distressed or verge of death. They must also collaborate with patients’ families, who may seek answers to complex questions. Even on the best days, this job is stressful because doctors usually have little authority over who they see and what happens. This feeling of uncertainty can make physicians anxious.

Poor work and life balance

Physicians frequently have a poor work-life balance because of their long duty hours, demanding shift patterns, and job requirements that extend beyond regular business hours, physicians frequently have a poor work/life balance. Furthermore, other stressful situations at home, such as relationships or financial concerns, can complicate the problem. Doctors have nowhere to unwind and rejuvenate their minds and bodies in these cases.

Final thoughts

Physician burnout symptoms can cause physiological, psychological, and intellectual strain on the health care professional. The consequences of burnout for physicians, their relatives, and patients are unquantifiable. In addition, burnout may cause damage to the doctor’s professional and personal life. So, taking action to deal with stressors and making time to care for one’s own needs can help prevent the adverse effects of physician burnout.

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