The numbers don’t lie. Physician burnout—or “a stress reaction marked by depersonalization, emotional exhaustion, a feeling of decreased personal achievement and a lack of empathy for patients” as defined by the AMA—is on the rise.
A 2016 survey study of burnout and work-life balance reported that 54.4 percent of physician respondents experienced at least one symptom of burnout in 2016—up from 45.5 percent in 2011. Similarly, 77.8 percent of respondents to the Physicians Foundation’s 2018 Physician Survey reported feelings of professional burnout either sometimes, often, or always—compared to 74 percent in 2016.
The drivers of burnout, including EHRs, long work hours in a high-stress environment, and loss of autonomy, are too numerous and complex for any individual physician to address alone. But there are steps physicians can take to reduce their stress levels and improve their cognitive functioning and well-being. Consider the following tips.
P.S. Looking at pictures of cute animals may reduce stress levels.