I don't think doctors are alone in experiencing burnout. Most professions have a level of burnout.But when its doctors who are burnt out, patient care and their health may suffer.
Now its my turn to play doctor and help with their burn out. My prescription for doctors who are burnt out:
- Go on vacation and cut the ties to your office. Find someone else to cover your patients.Do not contact your office - everything will be waiting for you when you return.
- Forget your watch and let your phone battery go dead (this is what we did and it was very relaxing). You will quickly lose all sense of time.
- Ignore all work related things, unless someone is bleeding in front of you do not admit you are a doctor.
- Do the things you enjoy but never have time for - whether hiking in the wilderness, bungee jumping, or sitting on a beach with a cocktail topped with a little umbrella, or better yet a tropical flower.
- Spend time with the people you care about and never have time for.
- Repeat annually.
Once you return from your vacation, give yourself a break every week where you can take a step back and do something you enjoy with the people you care about that is not related to work. If you don't know how to do this, maybe find a life coach to help you learn to adjust or just ask your spouse, kids, or friends how do this. I am sure they will have plenty of advice. If you do not have a spouse, kids or friends, join a club that will take you on a weekly adventure - hiking club, dinner club, wine tasting club, etc. Get a pet that you can't easily kill by ignoring it during long working hours. Make plans to relax. That is key. If you dont plan down time into your busy life, it will never happen.
See I can prescribe things to doctors. They prescribe things to me all the time. I know all about stress. Tell someone they have cancer and watch their stress level rise. Its payback time.