Calibrating the Physician

Calibrating the Physician

Doctors deal with long hours, high stakes, perfectionism, emotionally draining situations and little support due to privacy laws. One recent survey shows physicians are stressed at an alarming rate.

An astounding 44 percent of survey respondents expressed that they were burned out, with 15 percent saying they’ve experienced clinical depression. Several specialties, including plastic surgery, diabetes, endocrinology and urology, saw double digit surges in stress over 2018, according to the National Physician Burnout, Depression and Suicide Report 2019, conducted by the Medscape news website.

The rate of plastic surgeons feeling burned out climbed from 23 percent in last year’s survey to 36 percent in this year’s, while diabetes and endocrinology docs jumped from 35 to 47 percent burnout. Urology doctors went from 44 percent to 54 percent, the highest burnout rate in this year’s report.

Another survey, from MDVIP, found that a remarkable 83 percent of doctors feel they're spread too thin and unable to spend enough time with their patients. Three out of four say they’re not getting enough sleep because of work stress. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among medical residents and the most common cause of death among male residents.

Much of what physicians, and people in general, can do to relives stress is common sense, but it never hurts to be reminded. Here are some tips, direct from medical experts themselves, on how they relieve stress:

• Step outside for a quick break.

• Take a deep breath.

• Slow down and prioritize your tasks.

• Exercise and connect with others.

• Adopt simple health habits.

• Count to 10 and make a to-do list.

Give these doctor-approved tips a try the next time stress is trying your patience.

Links to surveys cited in the article:

https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/physician-health/physician-burnout-which-medical-specialties-feel-most-stress

https://www.mdvip.com/about-mdvip/the-press-room/2017-national-primary-care-doctor-survey

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