Surgeon burnout has become a serious problem in recent years, reaching near epidemic levels. Even for doctors who have experienced burnout, it can be difficult to pinpoint the factors that are contributing to the burnout itself. In this article, I’m going to discuss a few of the most common things that can lead to burnout among surgeons.
Many patients don’t realize the amount of bureaucratic tasks that a physician has to complete on a daily basis. It’s estimated that for every hour spent with a patient, a doctor has to complete two hours worth of paperwork.
Long Work Hours
Doctors often work incredibly long hours. When you’re consistently putting in 70-80 hours or more during your work week, there is little time left to spend with family or to engage in the activities you love. These long work hours can lead to exhaustion and burnout.
Doctors have an inherently high stakes job. Surgeons are responsible for patients’ lives every day. When an office worker makes a mistake on a spreadsheet, it’s usually pretty easy to fix. When a surgeon makes a mistake, it may result in a patient dying. This is an incredibly amount of stress that surgeons have to deal with on a routine basis.
Keeping Up with Changes
Change is stressful for most people. Surgeons have to deal with change on a constant basis – especially over the past decade or so with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. Keeping up with these changes can cause undue stress.
If you find yourself experiencing the symptoms of physician burnout, be proactive and take steps to prevent burnout before it gets worse. Doctors and surgeons are often expected to work grueling hours, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t have a good work/life balance. I have developed a methodology called the 8 PRACTICEs of Highly Successful Surgeons that has helped me simplify and balance my work as a surgeon with my family life and hobbies. If you are a doctor struggling with burnout, contact me today to learn more about my methodology and to sign up for a consultation.