The average primary care physician spends 30 to 45 hours per week seeing patients. These doctors can then expect to spend at least 10 hours or more per week on paperwork. The pace is hectic and at the end of the day, doctors are exhausted. Studies find that half of U.S. doctors today report symptoms of physician burnout.
What Makes Doctors Suffer Burnout?
Physician burnout happens when doctors who were once enthusiastic about their work begin to feel apathy. Stress is nothing new to physicians; however, physician burnout happens when you aren't able to recharge your batteries between shifts. There are three obvious symptoms signaling you're burned out and in need of a change:
1) Exhaustion - This isn't just the normal feeling of being tired after you work three consecutive shifts. This is a feeling hitting you physically and emotionally. You feel drained, even after a long weekend of rest. You're feeling less rejuvenated after time off and before your next shift.
2) Depersonalization - Cynicism, sarcasm, and irritation toward your patients or nurses is an important symptom of burnout doctors shouldn't ignore. The development of a negative attitude toward your work is a sign you may be suffering from burnout.
3) No Sense of Personal Accomplishment - Why did you become a doctor in the first place? Of course, it's lucrative, but many enjoy the rewarding feeling of successfully helping people and saving lives. Doctor burnout mitigates these once-fulfilling feelings. This symptom is related to the symptom of depersonalization. You may begin to ask yourself, "why bother?" or question why you became a doctor.
It's no wonder why one study found that half of responding doctors wouldn't choose a career in medicine again.
Overcoming Physician Burnout
Studies have shown greater schedule flexibility and a greater work-life balance can prevent physician burnout. Finding a renewed sense of personal accomplishment in your work can happen if you achieve more control over it.
Consider Locum Tenens
Locum tenens doctors work their own schedules. They decide where they want to go and how much they want to work. Locum tenens doctors are paid (on average) 33 percent more than permanent employees of the same specialty when travel, housing, and professional liability coverage are considered.
It's a recipe for reversing physician burnout. Signing on as a locum tenens can help you rediscover why you became a doctor in the first place. It's a refreshing change to assist in the healing process against burnout.
Becoming a locum tenens doctor is a straightforward process. For physicians suffering burnout and ready for a change, click here to learn what you need to do to become a locum tenens physician.