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5 methods to prevent burnout

US-based studies show that, when compared to workers within other fields, physicians are at a greater risk of burnout. However, this is not evenly split between sex/gender, with studies also showing that female physicians are at a higher risk across many specialties. Female physicians report higher levels of burnout within both Academic and Private Practice compared to males (50.7% vs 38.2% and 48.1% vs 40.7% respectively).

These studies have also found that the relationship with gender is not straightforward, but is affected by differences in the personal and professional lives of physicians. One study suggests that the increased time spent on Electronic health records (EHRs) by women provides a potential mechanism for the gender gap.

With these statistics in mind, we asked the Women as One Twitter community to share what their methods are to prevent burnout so that we can all benefit from our collective experiences.

1. Take one day at a time and don’t be hard on yourself

2. Spend time with friends and family outside of work

3. Exercise

4. Don’t take work home

5. Prioritise, delegate and ask for help

1. Take one-day at a time and don’t be hard on yourself

A study has found that accepting your personal limitations is part of one of four main aspects of physician resilience. It can be easy to get caught up on all the things we feel like we should be doing and forget how much we have already achieved. Leave the past behind, tomorrow can wait, focus on today.

1. Compartmentalize
2. Take one-day at a time (Yesterday’s problems are in the past, no need to worry Tomorrow’s problems yet)
3. Don’t be so hard on ourselves
4. Decompress by reconnecting w/ people non-work related, exercise and eat healthy

— Indah Sukmawati, MD (@IndahSP_MD) March 31, 2022

2. Spend time with friends and family outside of work

Having supportive, positive personal relationships has been found to be one of four main aspects of physician resilience. Make time to switch off from work and spend time with your loved ones.

Joyful mature women friends watch video via modern smartphone sitting at small table in street cafe on nice autumn day

3. Exercise

Physical activity has been found to be an effective medium for the reduction of burnout. Walking with your family, joining a dance class, or playing a team sport, moving can help to clear your head and release endorphins.

Family taking a walk down the street, close up

4. Don’t take work home

Setting limits and honoring yourself are part of one of the main aspects of physician resilience according to a study of Canadian physicians. Leaving work at the front door and honoring your personal life and space can help you switch off and truly rest from your practice.

1-Don’t take work home (What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas)
2-Decompress w family & live life
3-Catch up on sleep (exercise)
4-Laugh pic.twitter.com/Qbt6ATW7df

— MIЯVΛƬ #WIC (@mirvatalasnag) March 30, 2022

5. Prioritise, delegate and ask for help

Research indicates that proactively asking co-workers for help or advice may be effective to prevent burnout with balance and prioritization one of four main aspects of physician resilience. No-one knows it all, and no-one can do it all, share the load with your colleagues and work together.

“We are stronger together than we are alone.” – Walter Payton

+ ✨ Prioritize / Triage. ✨Delegate. ✨ Ask for help. ✨ Be a team player. ✨Unplug.

— Hiteshi KC Chauhan (@HiteshiKc) March 31, 2022

As individual physician’s there are a number of strategies we can take to prevent burnout. However research shows that it is not something we can solve alone. The healthcare organizations and systems within which we operate play a key role in the cause, and therefore the solution to physician burnout.

“The problem of physician burnout is best addressed when viewed as a shared responsibility of both healthcare systems and individual physicians… For medicine to fulfil its mission for patients and for public health, all stakeholders in healthcare delivery must work together to develop and implement effective remedies for physician burnout.” West, Dyrbye and Shanfelt, 2018

Join the conversation on Twitter and share your experiences of burnout

What are some of your methods to prevent burnout? #WomenInMedicine #MedTwitter #WIC #NationalDoctorsDay

— Women as One (@WomenAs1) March 30, 2022