Physician and nurse burnout are system issues and individual issues. Individuals as well as institutions can develop strategies to alleviate burnout and make suffering and this problem less severe.
According to the Medscape Lifestyle Report 2017, the top four reasons identified for burnout by physicians were
- Too many Bureaucratic tasks – all those government and institutional requirements
- Spending too many hours at work
- Feeling like a cog in a wheel – as if s/he were an interchangeable part of the system
- Increased computerization of practice – having to identify and input information which does not improve the quality of care of the patient
Yes, there is a need to change the practice environment and the system, and there are things you can do.
A cog in the wheel? What was a recent patient interaction that you had in which you felt or saw the impact you had? My husband is a physician who had a patient recently who only spoke Polish. We were in Poland in March, when I participated in the ICF Global Leaders conference. He knows two words of Polish, good morning – dzien dobry and thank you – dziekuje. Just these two words brought a big smile to the patient and helped her to feel more at ease. What small or large gesture have you made that has helped your patient in some way?
3Ws – Ask yourself daily, What Went Well today? This is a way for you to notice more of the positive. What went well can be something small like a smile from a colleague or patient, or something bigger like making the right diagnosis and treatment plan in a puzzling case.
Acknowledge others – What would help you feel less like a cog in the wheel? My guess is that one thing is, being acknowledged. What is something positive that you notice about your colleagues? Be specific. You can help that person feel less like a cog by acknowledging this to him or her. You’ll feel good too. Letting others know the positive you notice, strengths, skills, attributes, behaviors etc, in them and others, is a way for you to raise morale and impact your work environment.
On an institutional level acknowledging others is also a good practice. What qualities do you, the institution value? How does your organization acknowledge people who manifest this quality? What is your healthcare network doing to build a community of people who are connected around this value?
For more ways to alleviate burnout, contact me.
Revitalize Your Life,
Dina, 203.744.YOU3 (9683)
Improving well-being for professionals through coaching.
If you like this post please share. If you’re not yet on my list, please sign up at HeartofWellBeing.com to receive articles regularly.