4 Tips for Combatting Physician Burnout in Your Facility
Physician burnout happens all too often these days and has become a significant issue for medical practice managers. Recent studies have shown burnout rates among U.S. doctors topping 50 percent. Physicians are finding themselves under more pressure and stress from a variety of things out of their control. For example, stress and burnout can be sparked by increased patient volume, a sharper emphasis on outcome metrics, the technology learning curve, merging practices, and much more. Many doctors say they are spending less time caring for patients, which is what drew them to the profession to begin with.
With physician burnout on the rise, facility managers are attempting to understand the stressors and causes of burnout. Addressing mental health in your facility will lead to a happier and mentally healthier workforce – resulting in better patient care and satisfaction. Consider these tips to help combat physician burnout in your facility.
#1 Improve communication
One way to avoid physician burnout is to provide physicians with a way to express what they see as the cause of their stress. Simply allowing your providers to open up and “get it off their chest” will let them know that someone is taking their issues seriously and start the healing process. Sometimes, your staff simply wants to be heard.
Start by holding regular small group meetings with providers to gain an understanding of stressors and discuss possible changes your facility can implement to reduce burnout. Encourage candid discussion during these meetings to fully understand provider and staff concerns. Be engaged and ask questions of your team. Good listening and exchange of ideas are the first steps to improving mental health in the workplace.
#2 Be aware of the warning signs
As an administrator, it is your job to be able to identify and acknowledge the warning signs of physician burnout. You should understand the difference between a physician suffering from burnout and one who is just a little tired or stressed. The difference in these two cases of stress is the ability to recover normal reserves of physical and emotional energy between shifts. If the physician is returning to normal functioning the following week, great. If the physician is in a long downward spiral of being tapped out and unable to do their best work, they are more than likely suffering from burnout.
Symptoms of burnout include:
- Emotional Exhaustion: Providers are drained at the end of the day and are unable to recover after time off.
- Depersonalization: Physicians begin to be cynical or sarcastic about patients. Their attitude is negative, detached, callous and uncaring. This symptom of burnout is often referred to as “compassion fatigue.”
- Reduced Accomplishment: Providers question whether they are offering quality care and whether what they do matters. This symptom is characterized by physicians asking, “What’s the use?”
#3 Offer provider support services
Medical providers are often excellent at helping others but not so great at asking for help themselves. This is why it is critical to provide proactive support services to physicians. Don’t wait for your providers to ask for help or experience burnout; instead reach out to them and offer support whenever one has had a stressful experience or appears to be in need.
Make counseling services to readily available to your providers and make sure they know how to access them. Sometimes, venting to a peer or a professional counselor can help a provider recover from feeling pressured and strained.
#4 Honor vacation time
When your physicians do take time off, help them to unplug while they are gone. Many providers feel the need to catch up on electronic health records while they are on vacation and supposed to be recharging. Hiring a locum tenens provider to cover the physician’s workload and see patients while they are gone is a helpful solution. This not only allows the physician to relax while vacationing but also reduces the burden on office staff and other providers who are often asked to manage their own work along with the work of the out-of-office doctor.
Finding extra help
TinkBird Healthcare Staffing places highly qualified candidates for your permanent or temporary needs. Temporary healthcare staffing allows your facility to offer more vacation time, longer maternity leaves and other time off for your clinical staff, enabling them to refresh, recharge and avoid burnout.
Contact us to learn more about TinkBird’s temporary and permanent medical job placement services.