"Everything was O.K. around here until you showed up"
========== This is Blog Post #280 Complete Blog Library is Here ==========
This is Part Two of a series of Silly Things Physician Leaders Sometimes Say
Someone in the senior leadership team will often aim that comment at you after the successful launch of your burnout prevention program. I consider it a healthy sign for your organization. Senior leaders do not always share my viewpoint.
Here is the simple - and silly - thinking behind that statement:
Before your burnout prevention program launch no one talked about stress and burnout.
Now everyone is talking about it and offering suggestions for improvements.
Physician Burnout - Praying for a one-step solution is human nature (and a trap)
One of the key features of physician burnout - or any supremely uncomfortable life circumstance - is a desire to run away, escape, make the pain stop. When you are deep in the downward spiral, your mind drops to its knees and prays for a simple, one-step solution to the agony and despair.
We ask basic questions like:
What can I do to fix/stop/solve this?
How long will it take?
Because our questions are simple, we assume a simple answer will come to our rescue.
That is the first mistake - especially if you are a physician leader looking to prevent physician burnout at a system level.
We almost always ask the wrong questions.
In this blog post, let me show you the simplest way possible to prevent physician burnout in any healthcare organization that employs physicians. I promise to make it as simple as possible for you, but no simpler.
Prevent Physician Burnout - curated resource libraries now available.
When you are aware that physician burnout is not a problem and understand its true nature as a never ending balancing act, it will become obvious you will never find a solution - the key is to focus on building your strategy to maintain balance.
Each of the tools on this page will make sure you actually get home sooner. The library includes our EMR strategy recommendations, BID Huddle power tips, Batch Processing formula, the antidote to Multitasking and much more. All just a click away.
In our work with the C-suite of healthcare organizations across the country, one question comes up consistently after our initial training delivery: “What can we do as an organization to take better care of our people?” It is the core question of an administrator that understands the Quadruple Aim.
Unfortunately these same leaders are often trapped in a subtle form of magic thinking. They hope my answer will provide them with a solution to the problem of burnout. That is never going to happen for one simple reason …
Burnout is not a problem. There is no solution.
This does not mean burnout cannot be addressed or that there is no way to take better care of the providers and staff.
The first step in the process is to call burnout by its true name.
Physician Burnout Rates Top 50% in latest Mayo Study - and that is not the worst of it
For a while now I have been suspicious that physician burnout rates are increasing here in the USA, especially in the last five years or so. I have been waiting for the research to catch up with my suspicions for a while now. Here is the smoking gun.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings this month published results of round two of their survey of burnout in physicians compared to burnout in the "normal population". The last round in 2011 was major news across the country and the first study that compared physician burnout rates to those of non-physician workers.
The burnout rates are what I expected. The shocker is the number of physicians screening positive for depression and suicidal ideation that no one is reporting on.
The headline trends are these
From 2011 to 2014 physician burnout rates increased
AND the gap between physician burnout rates and burnout rates in the normal population widened
The Relationship Between Physician Burnout, Stress and Performance - Video Training
In the Burnout Proof Live Training I always field the question, "Isn't stress a good thing too?". Here's the answer ...
Stress can motivate or destroy performance. It can drive a physician to do the best for their patients becoming the personification of the Hippocratic Oath ... or leave them curled on the floor in the fetal position too burned out to take another step. It does all of these things depending on where you are on the Stress vs. Performance Curve.
Here is a short video training on the relationship between Physician Burnout, Stress and Performance
LEADERS TAKE NOTE:
The stress versus performance curve has massive implications for physician leaders.
Time and time again I end up quoting Einstein to my physician burnout coaching clients.
The two quotes in this short video are so powerful when it comes to recognizing and reversing physician burnout. Learn them by heart and live them in your practice and your life. You will be way ahead of the game when you do.
I am not sure what the link is between physics and work-life balance. Perhaps there are basic and immutable laws that apply in both arenas. All I know is when I am working with client on physician burnout issues ... all you have to do is memorize these two laws and then live them and you will quickly reverse the downward spiral.
"I started to feel better about my life within a couple weeks of beginning our conversations. I knew that I had an ally and friend. I realized that my feelings were predictable based on my circumstances, that I was “normal”. For the first time in years I had real hope that things would change for the better.
We worked together to find and interview for a new position in the worst job market for my specialty the recruiters have ever experienced. With Dike’s help and persistent positive attitude, I found a new position at a group that really cares about the doctors and I start in two weeks.
For me, the program has been worth everything. It has enabled me to emerge from my depression, change my toxic work situation, improve my home and family life, and allow myself to be happy and realize that I deserve to be happy.”