3 tips to alleviate physician burnout

Research from the American Medical Association, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic and Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine found that burnout among U.S. physicians decreased between 2014 and 2017, but the overall rate of burnout remains high.

Four experts shared their insights on physician burnout with Becker's ASC Review.:

1. Acadia Healthcare CMO Michael Genovese, MD:
"The most effective way to combat physician burnout is having physicians practice the things we often tell our patients and their caregivers to do: take care of themselves. This means making healthy lifestyle adjustments, such as exercising a minimum of 30 minutes per day, eating right and practicing self-care. Additionally, physicians should be encouraged to seek medical care — preventive or otherwise — as needed. This includes mental health care, like depression treatment."

2. Geeta Nayyar, MD, CMO of Greenway Health:
"In smaller organizations, or those with even fewer resources to invest in personnel or technology solutions to support workloads, creating a culture that is supportive of physicians is key. The entire organization needs to recognize the burden on physicians and set up a system where staff can feel like they can disconnect — even if it’s only for a short time. Because when stress seeps into every part of physicians’ days, there’s a culture problem. And once someone is already burned out — or at the verge of quitting — it’s often too late to fix it."

3. Linda Komnick of WittKieffer and Christine Mackey-Ross:
"Organizations can still acknowledge the stress, build a team that looks out for each other and really cares, pitches in when they see others overwhelmed, ensures vacation time, eliminates "busy work" and so forth. They can have team meetings where solutions from their suggestions are really implemented. Burnout at work is as much about not feeling appreciated or acknowledged as it is about being tired and overworked. On that note, physicians need to have some control and autonomy in addressing these issues and improving their work lives. It's easy to suggest solutions for burnout, but clinicians need to have a say in what they want and need, rather than having solutions applied to them."

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