3 Tips for Burned Out Surgeons to Communicate with their Bosses

Surgeon Communication Tips

When surgeons experience burnout, it can impact their ability to communicate effectively. That goes for patients, as well as co-workers and bosses. Whether you’re dealing with a ranking doctor, or a hospital administrator, it can be difficult to communicate effectively with your boss when you’re burnt out. In this article, we are going to discuss a few tips for communicating with your boss if you are feeling burnt out in your practice. Keep in mind that I am not taking sides.

Be Polite

Burnout is often coupled with stress and anxiety, which can cause some doctors to be rude or curt when talking with their co-workers or boss. Always do your best to be polite when you are talking with your boss (or your co-workers for that matter). Our goal here is to lessen your stress!

Explain How You Feel

It’s also helpful to talk to your boss (or a colleague) and explain to them what you are feeling. I don’t deny that this might be quite challenging. Empathy is not a principle exclusive to patient communication. Lower emotional intelligence/empathy and poor communication are correlated, and burnout is more common in environments that have these weaknesses. Someone has to break the ice. If your boss even understands just a little better how you’re feeling, they may be able to offer assistance or support.

Ask for Help if you Need it

I need you to step out of your shoes and take an independent perspective. If you think your boss truly has the desire and ability to help you be as successful at your job as possible, then don’t be afraid to talk with your boss about a recovery plan. If you think your boss is challenged in their empathy or resources to help, you may need to work with others. Either way, your goal is to improve communication through mutual understanding. You might arrange regular brief meetings that allow you to share the factors that are contributing to your decreased job satisfaction, such as: excessive paperwork, EHR, or long work hours.

Preventing Surgeon Burnout

Burnout can be damaging and debilitating for any surgeon. I know from my own experiences throughout my decades of work in medical school, training, and private practice. Through these experiences, I have crafted a methodology called The 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons that is meant to help surgeons prevent and recover from burnout. This methodology can be utilized by any physician in any sub-specialty and aims to help you find rhythm between your work and family life so you can get the most out of both. Contact me today to talk about The 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons and how they can be applied to your practice.