Don’t Drop Dead, Doc!
Burnout Prevention and Life Balancing Strategies for Physicians
The pace of modern healthcare and the avalanche of people in need have created too manyf overworked, exhausted physicians. Many residents have already been acculturated to expect harsh, exhausting work conditions and are soon surrounded by senior doctors who exemplify this damaging belief. Years of constant exposure to the ever-increasing stressors of medicine can cause burnout; adrenal failure; ill health; short tempers; reduced job satisfaction; insomnia; inability to be compassionate with patients or to interact in healthy, appropriate ways with colleagues, nurses and other healthcare personnel; addictions; self-medicating; and other truly disturbing behaviors.
Further, there is a direct correlation between burnout and depression.(1)
To compound matters, the unending stress of their workload is often carried into the doctors’ personal lives, which foments discord in domestic environments and distorts or decays their interpersonal relationships. In turn, this negatively affects the hospital or medical facility again when beleaguered doctors carry their home stress back to work, and their work stress back home, thus damaging their effectiveness in both environments.
How do we know this is a problem (C2)?
- Lack of awareness on how to prevent burnout
- Medical culture does not make physician health and balance a priority
- Individual physicians rarely assert their need for modified, more wholesome working conditions
- Not taking this systemic problem seriously
What do attendees need? (C2)
Attendees need education on how to protect and heal their own emotional and physical well-being; on clear-cut ways to encourage their colleagues, especially new doctors, to create work-life balance; and practical strategies for communicating their needs to their supervisors. They need to know better ways of living that allow doctors to fulfill their duties at a higher standard of care in optimal health themselves.
Learning Objectives (C3)
At the conclusion of this activity, the learners will be able to:
• Describe the precise ways in which burnout and concomitant symptoms are currently affecting their professional and personal lives (via a self-quiz applied during the session)
• Understand the toll that long term stress, burnout and/or depression can have on their personal and professional lives
• Understand how burnout and stress negatively affect patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, medical team cohesion and the hospital’s reputation in the community
• Know the 8 Principles for Recovering from Burnout
• Be motivated to take personal responsibility for their own well-being
• Have 5 or more practical, appealing strategies to help them prevent/reduce burnout and which can be applied immediately
• Recognize the implications of their work life choices on their own personal beliefs and cultural imperatives and know how to create more alignment between these elements
• Reassert to themselves their right to enjoy their life while caring for so many others
• Determine if they need to make dramatic changes in their life to restore their well-being
• Have the courage to effectively communicate with superiors about their needs
• Know and be able to execute the self-balancing strategy for emotional equilibrium
• Apply this new knowledge in their practice immediately
(IMQ’s CLC requirement)
Educational Delivery Method (C5):
- Self-Assessment Quiz
- Question and answer session
- Handout for future reference
Rationale for Delivery Method (C5):
- Knowledge conveyed in a short time
- Application of knowledge applies to all aspects of the physician’s practice and life
Professional Competencies (C6):
□ Practice-Based Learning and Improvement – Provide practical, real-world strategies to help physicians care for themselves so they can care for others – from patients to staff to admin people – in a more balanced, healthy way.
□ Professionalism – Significant reduction in physician stress and the concomitant negative effects stress has on teamwork with other healthcare personnel; percentage of errors caused by chronic stress; and enhance the appeal of the physician’s own practice and/or the facility in which s/he works in the minds of patients and their families.
Wendy is available for online activities
Wendy is available for web-based activities as well as in-person activities. She can also produce pre- and post-test questions if your organization requests for compliance with the AMA’s assessment requirement for online activities.