For most physicians, working long hours under stressful situations is their daily routine. Over time, this repeated pattern of being overworked can lead to burnout and a poor work-life balance. Recent findings by Locumstory.com show that more doctors are spending increased time at work. The study is based on responses from over 3,700 general and specialty physicians in different settings throughout the United States. It was recommended that more attention be directed toward helping doctors deal with the burnout and related mental health issues.
Fifty-five percent of doctors who responded stated that they considered leaving the field of medicine altogether. Reasons included excessive workloads, heavy paperwork, and too much time spent entering data into Electronic Health Record systems.
Fatigue, Depression, and More
Symptoms of burnout include fatigue, depression, anxiety, an inability to focus, and other mental and physical symptoms. The study’s findings showed that for physicians, recognizing their own burnout is not easy. Seventy-four percent said that they noticed burnout in other people, yet only 52 percent admitted feeling that way. They also felt that their job satisfaction and family relationships both suffered as a result.
Physicians also feel that they are now more overworked later in their careers, compared to when they first started, due to increased patient bases, complicated record-keeping, and additional administrative duties. However, there were signs of improvement in terms of patient care. Compared to a 2016 survey, the percentage of doctors who felt they did not have enough time with their patients decreased by 12 percent.
The Mental Health Stigma
Just over half of the doctors surveyed felt that their mental health was affected by their workloads, yet only 17 percent had looked for help. Many of these physicians did not care to work with a mental health professional, and just over 50 percent felt that the topic of mental health should not be discussed. Only 11 percent were prescribed anti-anxiety or anti-depression medicine, and six percent had contemplated suicide because of their heavy workloads.
Combating Doctor Burnout
There are ways that physicians can improve their mental health and well-being. Being open to help from mental health professionals can be life-changing for some. Another issue is defusing a situation where the physician feels trapped by their current practice. It pays to realize that there are always choices; relocating to another practice or facility could be a better fit. A simple change like having a shorter commute to work can add more free time to one’s workday.
Delegating responsibility to others and taking time to schedule work realistically can maximize efficiency and lead to an improved work-life balance. There are also many ways to improve doctor-patient and doctor-administrator communications, which can diffuse negative emotions like anger, frustration, and anxiety.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Overworked Physicians Facing Legal Issues
Physician burnout is a very real concern, and if you are suffering consequences from working too many hours, we can help. The Philadelphia physician lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. fight for physicians’ rights and can obtain the justice you deserve. Contact us today at 215-569-1999 or complete our online form for a free consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.