4 ways hospitals tackle physician burnout

Burnout is a persistent problem in the healthcare field, but doctors say hospitals haven't done enough to address the issue. Now, however, some organizations are finally taking action.

Physicians are especially susceptible to burnout due to the expectation that they promote a “myth of invulnerability,” according to Modern Medicine Network. This starts during the education process, according to the article, and a dramatic shift in care delivery post-Affordable Care Act has contributed as well. 

To address these problems, some hospitals and health systems have put burnout prevention strategies in place. For example:

In Minnesota, Rochester-based Mayo Clinic sponsors dinners where doctors can discuss their work and which aspects are causing them stress, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The clinic’s anti-burnout strategy relies on a three-pronged model that focuses on the pillars of choice, excellence, and social connectednessHennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis has refurbished a dining room to create a wellness center, along with the “reset room” it implemented last year to give physicians breathing room.

In Pennsylvania, Michael Beck, M.D., division chief of pediatric hospital medicine, Penn State Children’s Hospital at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, closely monitors  burnout, work-life balance and physician engagement. He encourages staff to respect and support one another as they take care of the sickest children in the region.

" I never forgot how isolated [you] can feel in an academic center even when surrounded by hundreds. I vowed that if I ever found my way to a leadership position, I would begin by creating an environment that emphasized morale, honesty, integrity, and professionalism. Beck told The Hospitalist. 

Even medical schools are taking action. UC San Diego now offers meditation courses to first- and second-year medical students, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The instruction better equips students to relieve the anxiety, depression and stress that is a frequent byproduct of the healthcare environment, according to Daniel Lee, M.D., of San Diego’s Owen Clinic, who teachers the course.

“Part of the goal is to help students be in a good space throughout their day so when they’re working with patients, they’re going to be present,” Lee told the Union-Tribune.

- read the Modern Medicine article
- here’s the Star Tribune article
- read the Hospitalist article
- here’s the Union-Tribune article