Burnout. In the medical profession it’s an all too familiar term, and for physicians in private practice, burnout is a near certainty. Because they don’t make you take business administration courses in medical school, the demands of operating your own business along with looking after patients will wear on anyone. Not everyone can take a week-long vacation to recharge their batteries, so we’ve assembled some practical strategies to mitigate against burnout.
Identify and lean on your outside-the-office support before burnout sign appear.
Everyone needs a soft place to land. Whether it’s your family, neighbors or place of worship, figure out who you can be real with and nurture those relationships. Even if it means sitting in silence while watching the game on TV, surrounding yourself with people who have never heard of an EMR and aren’t familiar with your workplace stress will put your focus in perspective.
Have a creative outlet.
Cooking, painting, biking, reading – it doesn’t matter what you do, but do something that’s just for you!
Accomplish one thing a day that has nothing to do with your practice.
One new mother became frustrated, because with the demands of her infant, it felt as though she accomplished nothing throughout the day. She resolved that every day she was going to make her bed. It took five minutes, it was just for her, and come evening time she could point to at least one thing that got done. The workload that surrounds running a business is overwhelming. There’s a big pay-off when you can cross things off your list. Whether it’s squaring away your car registration with the DMV or folding the laundry, getting one thing done will give you that rush of confidence that you can accomplish the next task at hand.
Ask your staff about their workflow.
Sit down with your support staff and ask them what a typical day looks like… and really listen. You may find that some employees are typing down the same exact information in three different places, or walking back and forth across the office several times a day because their workspace isn’t designed very well, or perhaps they are taking care of tasks that you are doing too, duplicating the work. Once you iron out the day-to-day of your staff, you may be able to eliminate some tasks so they can be freed up to do other tasks.
Assess your tools.
Chances are, you are using technology that hurts more than it helps. Changing technology is a huge undertaking, and at M*Modal we work tirelessly to make the transition as painless as possible. In fact, we find our technology often makes the experience of using other technologies much easier, creating more time to care for your patients, your family and yourself. So ask yourself, are your tools working for you, or are you working for your tools?
Compliment your staff when they do things well.
When you seek out positivity, you begin to feel more positive about your own abilities and the tasks at hand. Look for things your staff does well and tell them so. This not only boosts your staff’s morale, it also builds confidence in your own mind of what your support staff is capable of accomplishing without your involvement.
Do not hire staff last minute.
A well-trained staff is invaluable to any practice, so don’t take the huge risk of a trial-by-fire hire. Throwing a new employee in the deep end may work out sometimes, but more often than not, it causes a lot of stress, more mistakes and makes you lose confidence in that employee. If you know one of your employees will be going on maternity leave soon, hire her replacement a month out, so that employee is properly trained and has a real chance to succeed.
Are you feeling burned out? Tell us what you plan to do about it in the comments!