Physician Burnout

To each one of you the practice of medicine will be very much as you make it – to one a worry, a care, a perpetual annoyance; to another, a daily joy and a life of as much happiness and usefulness as can well fall to the lot of man
~Sir William Osler


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Physician and Surgeon Coaching for Burnout Prevention & Treatment

Burnout is common.  The latest figures suggest that at any one time every other physician is experiencing burnout and over a medical lifetime 80% may experience some signs. Whether they are newly trained residents or experienced physicians or surgeons the risk of burnout remains high, although it seems to peak in mid-career. 

A precursor of burnout is stress and a measure of stress is salivary cortisol. One study in physicians showed levels three times higher than the population in general.While both men and women may suffer from burnout. Women doctors are slightly more likely to experience burnout than men but it often manifests differently. For example, women often experience burnout as exhaustion and a loss of purpose, whereas men are more likely to experience depersonalization and cynicism.   While there is some evidence that osteopathic physicians experience a lower rate of burnout than allopathic physicians, all doctors are vulnerable.

There is no one cause of burnout but it can be thought of as a discrepancy between the demands made on the physician and the resources that they have available to deal with those demands.  This also gives us a guide us to the best way to manage burnout   We can either decrease the demands made on doctors  or increase the physician’s resources, preferably both.

Burnout is a worldwide phenomenon and while each country has unique issues that make the daily practice of medicine difficult. Wherever they live, almost all physicians  experience the same issues with burnout.

If left unmanaged, physician burnout has the potential to lead to physician suicide. Male physicians have a significantly higher rate of suicide than the general population and female physicians may have a rate of suicide two to three times that of women in the general population. It is estimated that every year over 300 physicians commit suicide in the United States alone. If that were not bad enough, we know that the wives of male doctors have a suicide rate almost double that of female doctors, making doctor’s wives especially vulnerable.

Coaching for Physicians works with individual physicians and with organizations, like medical societies, hospitals and medical groups, to teach the skills needed to manage and prevent burnout and restore the joy to medical practice. It is rare for engaged physicians to become burned out. To that end, we also consult with organizations to develop and change the work environment so that it encourages physician engagement,reduces turnover and burnout and  improves work-life balance. In so doing, both the physician and the organization gain from a reduced staff turnover, improved patent safety and a more functional and productive medical team.

Patrick Hudson MD, Board Certified Coach, has been helping individual physicians and physician groups and organizations, recognize the signs of burnout for almost a decade. We help you avoid and prevent burnout, manage and treat burnout symptoms and restore the joy to medical practice. 


Coaching for Physicians

The Leader in Specialized Coaching for Healthcare Organizations and Physicians

Patrick A. Hudson MD, FACS, Board Certified Coach, 2900 Louisiana Blvd. NE Ste E-1, Albuquerque, NM 87110, USA    Telephone: 505-280-4284  
                        EverythingDiSCŪ Authorized Partner and EverythingDiSCŪ Certified Trainer  
Listed as a resource for physician remedial education by the Federation of State Medical Boards.  
Dr. Hudson does not practice psychotherapy, counseling or psychiatry and works only as a coach.

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