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Physicians and Burnout: Let’s Address an Epidemic

Bardya Naeini is the acting Medical Director for Comfort Care Hospice, Florence Nursing and Rehab Center, and Cypress Cove Nursing and Rehab. Check out his perspective on burnout in the medical industry and what we can do about it.

Burnout is an epidemic in seemingly every industry. With the world moving a million miles a minute, stress and anxiety – especially in a culture as fast-paced as the West – is common among many professionals, and we’d all do well by taking a day off to catch our breath, relax, and spend some time with our loved ones.

But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work or that we can’t find fulfillment in our jobs. Rather, what I want to explore in this article is some ways we can mitigate the stress that plagues so many and, in serious cases, leads to something more pervasive — burnout.

Burnout is especially common among physicians. Two obvious reasons here are the lack of proper rest and the heavy emotional baggage that can come when dealing with patients going through serious and, in some cases, life-threatening issues.

Rest

The fact that lack of proper rest is such a pervasive issue and one that so often leads to burnout leads me right into this first point. Rest is something so heavily neglected in our society, and we often brag over the fact that we get up early and go to bed late, all in the name of productivity.

One great way to prevent us from reaching burnout is by ensuring we get proper rest. For most adults, 6-8 hours of sleep a night is what we should be aiming for. I know it sounds simple, but implementing small, healthy disciplines in our lives is huge when you look at it over the course of even a year.

Family

Spending time with the people you love is huge when recharging. And, while I’m not trying to posit a simple answer as the fix-all for all life’s issues, focusing on other people and getting outside of our problems and circumstances for a time can do wonders for our mental health and well-being.

While this list is far from exhaustive, I hope it reinforces some of the things you’ve heard or maybe even introduces some concepts you haven’t thought of before. Burnout is serious and nothing to be taken lightly. Remember, prevention is better than treatment. But no matter where you’re at in life, it’s never too late to start taking your health seriously, you can’t properly care for the people around you if you’re constantly running on empty.

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