Eye on Wellness - Simple Burnout Prevention Steps

Are you overwhelmed at work to such an extent that you feel deflated, depleted, and emotionally drained? You may be experiencing burnout – and you’re not alone! Burnout can ruin careers and lives, but only if we let it. What many don’t realize is that burnout has a positive side. The key to managing burnout is to leverage the positive side over the negative. In this article, we are going to offer up a few tips that can help save your career from the perils of burnout.

Focus on Sleep

Many surgeons simply do not get enough sleep. Me included! I am very well trained in sleep deprivation. Until fairly recently, I was proud of this ability. One way to train FOR the worst case scenario is to train IN the worst case scenario. While I am still able to turn on my system in the middle of the night in ways others might not understand, I now see some changes in my ability to handle periods of frequent middle of the night call duties. I am continuing to address my performance and self-care. Start to recognize how much sleep you get every night, and see where you can add more if needed. Power naps and changes to improve quality of sleep are other ways to improve our sleep recovery.  It may seem like you need to burn the midnight oil to get your work done but being well-rested can improve your proficiency at work – allowing you to get more done in less time. Where is your threshold?

Strategically Disconnect

With social media, constant texting, and email updates continually ringing in our pockets, many people feel the need to respond immediately and always be available. It’s no wonder we feel drained! Do your best to strategically disconnect. Strategically is the keyword here. Obviously, you shouldn’t disconnect yourself from everything if you’re on call, but when you can – turn your phone off, don’t respond to emails, and schedule time for yourself to do leisure activities that give you pleasure and recharge your batteries.

Don’t Feel Defeated

Remember that you are not “giving up” in recognizing that you are feeling the effects of burnout. There is no defeat in recognizing that you need to make some changes to improve your wellness. It generally means that you have not allowed yourself enough physical, mental, and emotional rest and recovery in between the bursts of intense performance for our patients.

Connect with the SurgeonMasters Community

If you or a physician you know are experiencing warning signs of burnout, SurgeonMasters is here to help. We are a wellness and coaching organization focused on helping surgeons combat burnout and build sustainable practices. How do we do that? By providing a variety of educational materials, including podcasts, blogs, webinars, and meetups. Join a community of like-minded surgeons helping each other build lifestyle-friendly practices. Contact us today to learn more or join our mailing list to get the latest updates.


Steps to Control Social Media

This week’s guest blog on steps to control social media is from Jonathan Cabin, MD, a practicing plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. Social Media, with great advances and substantial pitfalls, is here to stay. Navigating this can seem like an overwhelming challenge. Jonathan lays out simple, actionable steps we can take to manage our participation in social media platforms to avoid the overwhelm and minimize the pitfalls! - Jeff Smith

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In a recent Doximity Op-(M)ed blogpost, I discussed the intentional and dangerously addictive properties of social media, and the potential pitfalls for, and responsibilities of, the physician who chooses to engage with these platforms. I alluded to a set of positive constraints that could be employed to leverage the positive benefits of social media, while minimizing detriment. Below are some accessible, low-effort and highly actionable ways to positively transform social media use:


One of the most powerful ways to control social media – or the addictive nature of smartphones in general - is to selectively opt-out of those non-stop pop-up notifications. Notifications are purposefully designed to create a sense of false urgency, leading to a feedback loop of addiction. But there is rarely, if ever, urgency in social media (or nearly all of the other apps that constantly ping us). Even with the best intentions to contain use, the list of notifications on your locked screen creates a sometimes-irresistible urge to peek at the action. 


By selectively deleting social media apps from your phone, use is inherently restricted to an actual computer. This relegates engagement to specific, limited settings and eliminates the temptation to mindlessly scroll during opportunities for reflective moments. For certain services, like Instagram or Snapchat, phone use is unfortunately the only straight-forward option. But in the case of Facebook, removal of the app is an excellent way to create a powerful boundary.


Yes, you can forgo one or more of the social media networks. This allows you to reallocate your time to specific networks (or other activities) that are personally or professional higher yield. Of course, depending on your marketing goals, this may not be feasible. But it is worth considering, especially if you are deriving most your professional and personal value from a select few services.


If you are trying to positively leverage social media for marketing - like any marketing effort - it’s best to have a plan. Instead of deciding day-to-day what, where and how to post, sharing can be pre-determined on a weekly or monthly basis. This not only leads to more thoughtfulness about overall messaging, but reduces the inefficiency of posting randomly and on-the-fly. If you're looking for organization ideas, a quick online search will lead to various templates and data-driven recommendations for maximizing your social media ROI.


In conjunction planning, social media use can be made intentional and meaningful by batching and scheduling. There are several online services that allow you to centralize all your accounts and schedule posts in creative and practical ways. And most of these programs allow you to post without actually logging into the service, which is an added bonus – especially if you tend to get sucked into content consumption when just intending to share your own.


If you find social media to be a necessary evil, it may be worth the added expense to dedicate staff to it. This could be as little as physically posting photos and captions you generate, and as hands-off as putting someone in charge of all content, posting and responses. Although potentially expensive, consider the time-intensiveness of social media management. What additional value could you generate by outsourcing in order to focus on more high-yield professional (or personal) activities?


There is pressure on social media to reciprocally follow, and there can be strong FOMO (fear of missing out) at the idea of no longer getting someone’s content updates. But if you truly find joy in consuming social media content, but notice little value or even negative emotion related to the posts of certain individuals, it is a wise choice to eliminate their content from your feed. In some networks, like Facebook, this can be achieved without actually “de-friending” but by merely “unfollowing”. With so little time in the day, why waste a moment interacting with something that hold little or no personal value.   

The objective is not necessarily to eliminate social media use (although for some this may be a reasonable conclusion). Instead, pick and choose from the above tools to establish systems and boundaries with the goal of an intentional practice. This will help to maximize personal and professional value, while minimizing unintentional distraction and negativity: for yourself and for your patients.

Author Bio:

Dr. Jonathan Cabin is a board-certified facial plastic & reconstructive surgeon with a private practice in Beverly Hills, California. His areas of expertise include surgical and non-surgical facial rejuvenation, primary and revision rhinoplasty, facial reconstruction, and migraine surgery. In addition to caring for his patients, Dr. Cabin writes on the topics of performance-enhancement for physicians, surgical coaching, and bringing joy and meaning back into the practice of medicine.


The Importance of Online Reputation Management for Surgeons


What many physicians don’t realize is that they have an online presence already – even if they haven’t set up a website, or a social media account. I’m talking about third-party listings like ratemds.com, healthgrades.com, and ucomparehealthcare.com. These third-party listing sites have a lot of ranking authority and will almost always appear on the first page of Google when a potential patient searches a physician’s name. If you aren’t actively monitoring these listings and proactively reaching out to patients to leave positive reviews, you are endangering your online reputation.

A HealthGrades Nightmare

Here’s a recent example we had to deal with. One of my clients (an orthopedic surgeon with his own private practice) noticed a decrease in new patients coming in. This particular client gets about 75% of his patients through his website – as well as the online ad campaigns we run for him. What made this drop in patients particularly baffling is that we’d been having a fantastic quarter in terms of web traffic and conversions via the website and Google ad campaigns. So why were new patients dropping?

After a bit of investigating, we pinpointed the culprit – Healthgrades. If you’re unfamiliar, Healthgrades is a third-party doctor listings website where patients can leave reviews of their physicians. Though my client had an overall rating of 4.3 / 5 stars (with 82 total ratings), the most recent three reviews were very negative – and from patients who were only mad because they couldn’t get all of the prescription pain medications they wanted.

Three negative ratings on a third party site were killing new patient referrals for my client. Potential patients were finding my client via Google search, and since Healthgrades lists reviews with the most recent first, their first impression was these 1 star reviews.

Solving the Problem

Once we figured this out, we went to work right away to resolve the issue. Working with my client’s clinical staff, we reached out to previous patients to see if they would be willing to write positive reviews on Healthgrades. Most were more than happy to, and within a week we had populated the listing with seven new 5-star reviews from happy patients – burying the negative reviews in the process.


Author Bio:

Ryan McGinty is the founder and CEO of Oil Can Marketing – a Twin Cities based web design and digital marketing company. For the past five years, he has been helping physicians and surgeons build their online reputations and grow their practices.