After spending 20 years in school and countless hours studying, who doesn’t want to go straight into a job working 60-80 hours a week? Most doctors don’t go into medicine for the money, they go into it because they have a passion for helping people, but at what point is it too much? Depending on your specialty, you could be working these long weeks for 7+ years after receiving your medical or osteopathic degree and even further into an attending position; so how do doctors avoid burnout? According to the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Medical Association, the two main areas to focus on are your relationships and your physical health. If you don’t curb burnout, you will cause serious issues down the line with your medical license and your career that you spent so long building.
One of the main factors that leads to physician burnout is the feeling of seclusion. This feeling could be because you are new to the area and don’t know anyone, or because you don’t recognize everyone is going through the same thing. Taking the time to make friends inside and outside of your program can help. Talking to fellow residents will help you find ways to make your days easier and gives you the ability to vent your frustrations. Don’t forget to keep in contact with your friends and family who may not live close can help as well. Your family may not understand all your problems at work, but they will give you the ability to talk about something outside of the hospital. A support network is critical for both young and experienced physicians.
Ensuring you are eating correctly and exercising and sleeping enough is extremely important to avoiding burnout. Since you are likely a physician and reading this, you already know this but maybe don’t always act on it. Taking small steps to ensure that you go to the gym, eat a few healthy meals, and try to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep a night can go a long way. You are busy, you don’t always have time to focus on your physical health but taking small steps can drastically decrease your likelihood of burnout.
Burnout can cause some severe issues with your license. It can lead to troubles with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, whether it was caused by you getting into trouble with the law or because of something that happened at work. Williams & Nickl is here to help you get through that process and back on the right track. Our firm focuses on professional license defense to ensure the Medical Board does not violate your rights, and you have a chance to move on from your issue.