We have all been there. It's Friday afternoon, you are waiting for your spouse to get home and it is getting late. You begin to suspect the phone is going to ring instead of the door opening. You tell yourself and your kids that it is ok, we will just have to catch up later. Out the door you go so your kids can make the game and sure enough the phone rings as you are getting in the car. It happens... sometimes much, too, often.
To quote the August 2018 issue of Medical Group Management (MGMA), "Healthcare is a demanding field." Yes, I got that memo and I'm sure you did, too. While this doesn't only apply to healthcare, it is one of the most demanding fields that is experiencing a rather large uptick in burnout. According to the same MGMA article, "Burnout affects the physician, the physician's colleagues, the organization and patients, not to mention a physician’s family and loved ones." Yes, the physician family unit is now experiencing burnout.
One of the biggest issues if physicians feeling isolated which leads to lack of self care and subsequently ignoring the signs of burnout. What are the signs of burnout? According to MGMA and Med Page Today look for emotional exhaustion, depersonalization/cynicism and reduced self-efficacy.
The MGMA says this, "Physician burnout is a serious problem, leading to less physician clinical time, decreased patient access, reduced patient satisfaction scores, poor patient outcomes and increased malpractice risk. Physicians must shift their paradigm to self-care, self-compassion, practicing empathy and being mindful." Also, let me remind you those vacation days are a huge part of your compensation plan. Even for those on production, take your vacation days. You will be more productive and more connected when you have had time to recharge, reconnect and relax with your loved ones. You have less risk of malpractice, better family life, happier family! This is the goal of every physician family and you can have it.
So how do you avoid physician and physician family burnout? Every article I have read while researching this topic has this to say: Improve work-life balance. You know I have to talk about it... all those unused vacation days floating around... this is one biggest way to improve your work-life balance. Taking time to reconnect with yourself and those your care about is how you beat Physician Family Burnout!
Long story short: You’re committed to your job, and you want to serve your patients and community as best as you possibly can. But you can’t do that if you’re constantly stressed and mentally checked out! That’s why travel is your medicine.
Give yourself the mental break you deserve. Take a vacation to explore spellbinding destinations, on your own terms, with your loved ones by your side. Come home rested, reconnected, and ready to give your job — and your life — your all again.