Physician burnout is a very real issue facing the healthcare industry, and one we wanted to address during ACEP Wellness Week. In Medscape’s Physician Lifestyle Report, 46 percent of practicing physicians in the United States reported feeling some level of burnout at work – including loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism and a low sense of personal accomplishment. The top three contributing factors to these feelings include:
Physicians feeling they have too many bureaucratic tasks. Bureaucratic pressures and loss of autonomy are well-researched causes of stress in physicians.
Too many hours at work. Long hours can cause fatigue and potentially lead to mistakes.
Financial stresses. The stress of hefty student debt and decreased regulatory funding within the healthcare system can leave physicians feeling unconfident in their financial status.
Gender, age, overall physical health, marital status and religion were also factors that play into whether a physician is susceptible to burnout.
All too often physicians feel they need to be the ones to take care of others without seeking proper care for themselves. Sadly, one of the harshest consequences of physician burnout is suicide. In 2015 alone, 400 physicians in the United States committed suicide. TeamHealth’s Dr. Kip Wenger, a regional medical director in Knoxville, Tennessee shared how physician burnout affected one of his colleagues in this powerful video:
As a part of TeamHealth’s commitment to physical and mental well-being, we have invested in programs to help lessen and aid in physician burnout incidents. In 2016, we began working to enhance available resources through LiveWell WorkLife services. The counseling services offer three free in-person visits per topic relative to area and include:
• Legal support
• Financial support
• Adult/Elder Services
• Child/Parenting Services
• Convenience Services
• Life Learning
• Chronic Condition Support Services
• Critical Response Support
• 24/7/365 phone number to call
• Counseling services – three free in-person visits per topic relative to area.
These health resources and personalized support services help our clinical and non-clinical associates find the balance, support and care needed to live the healthiest lives possible.