Long hours. High stress. Not enough time to stop and breathe.
Physician burnout is a silent epidemic that creates serious challenges to patient health and our health care system. Doctors all over the country are expected to deliver world-class clinical care while trying to keep up with the economic, technological, regulatory, and organizational changes that make being a doctor harder and harder.
Physician burnout is a silent epidemic that poses serious challenges to patient health and our health care system. Furthermore, most physicians simply do not have an outlet for when they are feeling alone and hopeless. However, new avenues and outlets are beginning to arise and research is finding some statistical significance to their benefits.
We thought we’d take a look at ways hospitals can try to make the workplace better to prevent this epidemic of physician burnout.
Physician coaching and retreats
There are comprehensive programs to help other physicians achieve better work-life balance, develop their leadership skills, boost their engagement, and wellness and find more fulfillment in their professional and personal lives.
Working with an executive coach has helped many physicians gain more clarity about what is important to them as a physician, as a friend, as a family member.Many hospitals are including Development Program for Physicians which focuses on self-awareness to help doctors better understand their own thinking, feelings, and behaviors. It guides them to see more clearly what they value most and regain the objective why they initially chose the profession — both of which can help them better cope with the mounting pressures on today’s physicians.
Leisure activities – Arts, crafts, and live music
Hospitals have started engaging physicians in leisure activities and a wide range of projects, from bracelet making to creative writing.
It is crucial for front-line caregivers to have a creative outlet.The hospitals are holding creative writing sessions, where physicians can explore their thoughts away from the office. Many hospitals use dancers and yoga teachers to lead five-minute stretching sessions in units throughout the facility.
Relieving Physician Information Overload
Administrations are targeting a primary source of stress for physicians: the electronic medical records system.
Record-keeping requirements force most physicians to spend more time working on computers than treating patients, which is not the primary objective of why they joined the profession.
A panel of physicians is working to redesign daily workflow to help relieve the burden of record-keeping requirements. The effort involves delegating some EMR work to physician’s assistants, among others.
In addition to logging interactions with each patient, doctors must respond to emails, phone calls, lab reports, and requests from administrators, colleagues, and patients.
The delegation of work to physician’s assistants and some software to make paperwork easy are making IT a fabric of this profession and not a burden.