Stress-related burnout has become a growing problem for physicians as well as patients. Even though the medical community is starting to acknowledge this problem and is addressing the factors at play, it continues to plague physicians across the US.
Generally defined as loss of enthusiasm for work, feeling of cynicism and a low or no sense of accomplishment, burnout has made it difficult for doctors to continue in the medical profession. From team structure and functionality to diversity, inclusions and lack of support inside as well as outside the workplace, there are several reasons why physician burnout is on the rise.
According to the industry experts, there is no single cause of burnout; however, long workdays are to be held responsible. On an average, doctors work 50 hours per week which is at least 10 hours more than most other Americans. Other factors also contribute to work stress such as, student debt and the inability to balance work and life. This result in frustration and leads to burnout. Inability to balance work and life is a problem that is taking a toll on female doctors. Their burnout rate is twice as high as of their colleagues due to which they become more likely to leave the profession.
Another type of pressure comes in the form of the notion that physicians should never show weakness. They should always embody grace under pressure. This adds to the emotional toll on physicians.
Physicians are also subjected to administrative activities that consume a lot of time. Much of these activities include regulations imposed by non-federal as well as federal insurers. Even the time demand of EHR (Electronic Health Records) is taking a toll on the physicians. Experts believe that even though EHRs will revolutionise healthcare, today they are turning many physicians into clerks.
It has become important to make meaningful and small changes to help physicians achieve work-life balance. From the implementation of a flexible scheduling to use of “scribes” for handling paperwork chores, there are several ways in which the workload of physicians can be reduced.
Even doctors should be able to ask for help, when needed. There isn’t a quick fix to deal with this problem but fortunately, a broad consensus has emerged in the medical industry over this issue. Even doctors need care in order to offer quality care to the patients.