Physician burnout is an ongoing problem in hospitals. Burned-out doctors have a negative impact on the care a hospital provides. So it’s an issue that healthcare executives must address at their facilities.
There are many ways a hospital can address doctor burnout, from changing the way shifts are staffed to setting up special spaces and programs designed for clinical staff to relax.
To find the methods that work best for your facility, it’s important to get a full understanding of how much your providers are suffering from burnout so you can figure out the most appropriate solutions.
Strategy for success
According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, there are several steps healthcare executives need to take so they can tackle any issues with physician burnout in their hospitals. Here are the five most critical:
- Acknowledge the problem so it can be addressed. Simply letting physicians know that executives are aware that burnout is an issue can make providers feel more at ease. Allow clinicians to offer their direct feedback about why they’re feeling burned out, as well as any suggestions for improvement, so you can create the framework for a plan.
- Use effective leaders to engage physicians in the process. Per the Mayo Clinic, the right leaders for an initiative to reduce burnout should have the ability to listen to doctors and act on their suggestions. They should also know what motivates physicians, so they can be assigned tasks they find meaningful – which reduces their chances of burnout.
- Develop and implement targeted changes. After you’ve got an idea of the exact reasons your doctors are burned out, it’s crucial to make changes that specifically address the problem in your facility. Example: If providers have above-average caseloads, make it a goal to decrease them by a reasonable percentage for each one.
- Create a sense of community for clinicians. Besides making active changes to relieve burnout, it’s also helpful to cultivate an environment where providers can support each other. Working as a hospital clinician can be grueling, and doctors’ immediate peers understand that all too well. So encourage a culture where they celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and openly share advice and ideas for how to handle the ups and downs of a hospital setting.
- Use rewards and incentives. Along with doing work that rewards them, doctors also like to receive external rewards – just like all workers do. Some hospitals do this by using structures that pay physicians based on their productivity. But physicians’ desire to succeed here may cause them to overwork themselves, contributing to burnout. That’s why rewards and incentives must be balanced. Instead of always offering money, it’s a good idea to offer rewards that encourage doctors to relax, such as extra time off.