Physician burnout is a rising concern among pediatricians. Job burnout is higher among physicians than any other U.S. job.
Burnout, described by dictionary.com is,
fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.
There are three different types of energy that, if depleted, could lead to a situation like this. They are as follows:
- Physical - this is simply your ability to get out bed and be ready for the day.
- Emotional - the ability to be compassionate and ready to work together on a project.
- Spiritual - the energy that allows you to connect to your work (the reason why you do what you do).
If any of these three categories are out of balance, it can lead to unhappiness and stress.
Why is Burnout So Prevalent in Pediatrics?
There are an array of reasons that make pediatrics a strenuous practice. There are four aspects of being in this profession that put pressure on pediatricians.
- Physical Danger – Pediatricians are often subject to physical harm. For example, toddlers or even older kids will sometimes lash out at their pediatrician in an attempt to get out of receiving an immunization shot.
- Germs – With so many sick children coming in and out of the office every day and engaging in physical contact, the danger of getting sick increases significantly. The constant exposure to germs can really wear someone down.
- Patient Concerns – Pediatricians always have to be up to date on emerging illnesses or sicknesses. They are essentially in charge of their patients' lives. That's a lot of pressure on one person.
- Difficult Parents – Since parents are so protective of their children, it is easy for their concerns to overwhelm a pediatrician.
Symptoms of Burnout
There are a few major symptoms of burnout to look out for.
- Exhaustion – This relates back to the three types of energy described above. If you are depleted in any of these categories, this could be a sign of burnout.
- Cynicism – This happens when you lose compassion for your employees and patients. A pediatrician's job is to see patients, so if you lose compassion for the people you are around each day, your job becomes really difficult.
- Doubt – Beginning to doubt that your work makes a difference or matters is another sign of burnout.
Tips for Avoiding Burnout
While there are many things that can cause physician burnout, there are also many things that can prevent it. These 5 tips should help ease the stress of physician burnout:
- Exercise – Engaging in regular exercise can help ease stress. Evidence shows that exercising improves emotional well-being. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise however, so choosing a workout partner might be a good idea if that is the case for you.
- Spend time with family and friends – Taking part in social activities outside of work and away from any stress helps a lot too. It is important to distinguish your life outside of work and spend time doing things that have nothing to do with your day job.
- Identify what you can control and what you can't – It is important to check in with yourself and make sure you are not getting upset about things you cannot control. Let those things go and focus on the things that you can have an effect on.
- Take time off – If you recognize that you are exhausted and having trouble functioning, there is nothing wrong with taking time off of work. Let yourself recover before continuing on with work. It will help you relax as well as make you more productive.
- Get professional help – If the situation gets bad, there is no shame in getting professional help from a licensed professional. The most important thing is to keep the practice productive and running smoothly. There is no shame at all in talking to someone to control your stress levels.
How Can an EHR Vendor Help with Physician Burnout?
As an EHR vendor focused on helping independent pediatricians, PCC is well aware that physician burnout is a pressing concern in the medical field. On top of the common triggers for burnout, many pediatricians have added stress from the EHR they currently use. PCC provides an EHR solution that improves workflow, reduces time charting, and as a result, helps to minimize the stress in a busy pediatric practice's day.
Knowing you have easy access to a reliable support team is fundamental when deciding on an EHR vendor. PCC is renowned for our support, and our team is one of the many resources that helps ease stress for clients. Our Client Advocate system allows a client to have a support team member assigned to them, whom they can talk to regularly. Just knowing that someone is there to help if needed can be enough to take the edge off of a situation. Regularly scheduled proactive client care phone calls are set up, making it easier to take care of problems right away while they are small, rather than waiting until they become emergencies. If there is an emergency however and they can't get through to their client advocate right away, they can always talk to the rapid response team. There is always someone there for support at PCC if one should need it.
Clinical Workflow Tools
PCC offers an array of tools to help smooth the workflow of an office, including but not limited to:
- Automated Patient Recall System
- pocketPCC Mobile App
- Patient Portal
- PCMH Tools
Physician burnout is a relevant topic to discuss today, as it impacts doctors all across the country, and pediatricians are no exception. The best way to get rid of burnout is to keep up healthy habits and use software that makes life as a pediatrician easier.