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Physician Burnout

Today many physicians are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed and yes, maybe even a little scared. They live under the assumptions that as care providers they aren’t allowed to be fallible, let alone have human needs.

But who’s to blame? The system, patient expectations or possibly the physician community as a whole? While there is no one answer to this question, IRCMS doctors discussed this issue at a meeting earlier this year when President Laurie Welton, D.O., presented members with an “open mic” opportunity to speak about their personal challenges and frustrations.

Here are some excerpts from a few of the comments that were made:

"...I had to take time off for a health issue and was worried about being able to meet my financial obligations. Now as a way to combat the stress, I make it a priority to work out every day and try to balance my life more."
 "…Seven years ago I started taking Fridays off. It was the best lifestyle decision I could have made. I often see up to 60 patients a day, so I hired more scribes in my practice which has helped immensely. You have to let people help you!"
 "…You can’t allow your staff to be abused by patients. I’ve actually have had to “fire” a couple of patients."
 "…I have a great team at my practice, and when a patient is appreciative I never take credit. I always give a nod to my entire team."
"…The best thing I ever did was sell my practice and became an employee. Now I don’t have to worry about personnel and financial issues."
"…Physicians are hard on themselves and they shouldn’t be afraid to live below means."
"…Patients have changed over the years. Patients aren’t grateful or appreciative. Society has gotten angry at the medical profession. We need to bring the patients back to liking us."
"…We all need to realize that our staff members get very burned out. We truly need to appreciate them more and openly compliment them on jobs well-done."
"…When treating many of our less fortunate patients, it brings me back into focus that the problems I think I have are nothing in comparison to many patients. It keeps me humble."
"…It’s so important for physicians to have a hobby. Find another career to distract you from your day job."

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