Physician burnout is far more than a buzzword. In fact, in June of 2019 the World Health Organization formally named burnout a medical condition.
Burnout is a very real issue, and it impacts physicians, patients and hospital systems alike.
As a result of physician burnout:
- Physicians suffer. Burned out physicians report struggling with depression, apathy and general frustration with their role in the healthcare system. More than 400 physicians commit suicide each year, many due to burnout. That also means one million patients will lose their physicians thanks to this loss.
- Patient care diminishes. When patients are seen by burned-out physicians, not only is there less engagement and connection, there’s also an increased chance of mistakes being made.
- We lose our most valuable asset. The cost of a burned-out physician who leaves their job is between $500k-$2 million related to recruitment cost and lost revenue.
Its symptoms can appear in many forms, including depression and anxiety, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, decreased productivity, substance abuse and even suicidal thoughts. Three main symptoms to look for when identifying physician burnout are:
- Exhaustion: low physical and emotional energy
- Depersonalization: a.k.a. “compassion fatigue,” where physicians become cynical or sarcastic about their work
- Lack of efficacy: physicians start to believe their work doesn’t matter or isn’t good enough
We Are Right Here With You
Here at Cone, our Brand Promise is “We are right here with you,” and that promise extends to our physicians and APPs who are navigating burnout. We know that creating a culture of wellness to help support one another is critical to our individual and hospital-wide health, happiness and success. With that foundation in place, we’ll collectively be able to offer the best care possible to our patients and community – while remaining the best versions of ourselves in the process.
May we suggest:
- Ask for what you need and prioritize your own health and self-care. A culture of wellness needs YOUR involvement to be successful.
- Seek out like-minded colleagues as you set the tone for a wellness-based work approach.
- Speak up for overall support of physicians by elevating specific concerns (see link below).
- Emphasize developing skills to help counteract burnout, such as gratitude, stress relief and more. Our Provider Wellness Program offers resources to help with this!
To help decrease burnout or to elevate your concerns at Cone Health, email the Directors of Physician Resilience and Retention:
There’s good news if you’re dealing with burnout. Yes, there are system-wide changes that need to be made across the country, but there are also things you can do to help on a personal level.
At Cone Health, we offer a Provider Wellness Program with activities you can be part of to help combat burnout and take some time for YOU.
Resources to Help You
- Employee Assistance Counseling Program (EACP), offering a free 24/7 hotline and appointments – 336-538-7481
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling and Treatment Centers
- Triad Psychiatric and Counseling (Greensboro) – 366-632-3505
- Full Life Counseling and Recovery (Winston-Salem, outpatient) – 336-923-7426
- Fellowship Hall (Greensboro, outpatient and residential) – 800-659-3381
- Hopeway (Charlotte, residential) – 980-859-2106
- Wilmington Treatment Center (Wilmington, residential) – 866-385-7186
- The Ranch (Tennessee, residential) – 931-219-1819
Psychiatric Resources for Feelings of Depression, Anxiety and Suicidal Thoughts
- Alamance Regional Psychiatric Associates (Burlington) – 336-586-3795
- Dr. Alex Eksir - 336-291-8549
- Dr. Aarti Kapur (Burlington) – 336-524-0430
- Dr. Philip Lavine (Burlington) – 336-675-0874
- Cognitive Psychiatry (Chapel Hill) – 919-636-5240
- Carolina Partners (Chapel Hill & Durham) – 877-876-3783
- NC Neuropsychiatry (Chapel Hill & Raleigh) – 919-933-2000
- Cone Behavioral Health (Greensboro) – 336-832-9700
- Crossroads Psychiatry (Greensboro) – 336-292-1510
- Dr. Rupinder Kaur (Greensboro) – 336-645-9555
- Triad Psychiatric and Counseling (Greensboro) – 336-632-3505
- Mood Treatment Center (Greensboro & Winston-Salem) – 336-722-7266
- Carolina Behavioral Care (Hillsborough) – 919-245-5400
Career Coaching for Work/Life Balance, Conflict Resolution and Anger Management
If you’re interested in reading more about physician burnout from several angles, feel free to dig into the below resources. You’ll see this is very much a nationwide issue, and one that’s been going on for a while. If you’re a physician experiencing burnout, you are most definitely NOT alone, and it’s not a result of something you did or didn’t do.