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Part 2: Unpacking Burnout in Health Practitioners: Finding the Breakthrough

Part 2: Unpacking Burnout in Health Practitioners: Finding the Breakthrough

Burnout in health practitioners is characterized by depersonalization, emotional exhaustion and feelings of low personal accomplishment. It’s unfortunately more common than we’d like to admit with over 50% of health practitioners reporting feeling burnt out.

Job-related burnout in the health care sector not only leads to decreased effectiveness in practice, but may also interfere human perception, affecting a clinician’s appropriate judgement. The result is that burnout can even increase the occurrence of medical accidents and deteriorating the quality of care provided to patients.

Who is at risk of burnout?

Among health practitioners, it has been shown that men have higher practice-related burnout than women. Further, studies show that Introvert personalities are more at risk of burnout and so are health practitioners who are married, over the age of 30, and who have been practicing 10 years or more. So if you fall into one of these categories, please read on.

So how do you know if you are going to be counted in the 1 in 2 practitioners who experiences burnout in their career? When it comes down to it, our belief in our ability to handle our work will ultimately be the factor that decides our fate. The number one thing that has been proven to predict burnout in the health care field, has been that practitioner’s level of general self efficacy (or GSE). You can find out how you score through multiple questionnaires online.

Self-efficacy is the key

So what is self-efficacy? Self-efficacy refers to the belief that an individual has an ability to take action and achieve a given goal. GSE has nothing to do with the actual skills of health practitioners, but is related to the self-judgment for the individuals’ decision to apply their skills. It has been reported that individuals with high self-efficacy tend to adopt positive coping strategies when they face with severe pressure. These individuals believe that they are able to complete the tasks and do not feel too much pressure.

According to Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in their ability to succeed in a particular situation. Such beliefs play a role in determining how people think, behave, and feel.

Having high self-efficacy is a good thing. People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • Develop a deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments
  • View challenging problems as tasks to e mastered

So once you know you’re at risk of burnout, your self-efficacy is low, what can you do about it?

Here are the top 4 things that have been shown to be effective in raising self-efficacy in health practitioners:

Celebrate your wins

Celebrating even the smallest successes in your career and your week. Are you listed as one of the top 10 NDs in your area? Yeah, you are. Celebrate that. Did you have a great win with a patient today? Did your front desk staff tell you how much they admire you last week? Did a patient thank you for believing in them when other physicians didn’t listen? Really receive those compliments, the feedback, and seek out those wins. Then take time out of your day to actually celebrate them. Pour yourself a glass of kombucha and cheers to your success; buy yourself flowers; buy yourself something nice; take yourself on a weekend away. Rather than brushing these complements and celebrations off, deflecting them, or just breezing by them, take a longer moment to celebrate and recognize the wins and accomplishments in your career, no matter how small.

Surround yourself with others who are successful on your terms

No matter what you believe, you will always find evidence to prove its truth. Seek out other practitioners and role models who are successful in the way you want to be. Do they manage a clinic? Do they have a successful onlie program? Do they have a busy practice while simultaneously raising 3 children? Are they travling the world while practicing telemedicine? Whatever defines success for you, find your people. Find the people who are a few years ahead of you and doing what you aspire to do. Send them a complimentary and kind email. Ask them if you can shadow them, offer to take them for lunch, buy them a tea, or take their course. Ask them for details on how they got there and the steps they took to make their career a success. Surround yourself with these people as often as possible.

Positive affirmations

Practice mantras and gratitude often throughout your work day. For example, remind yourself how grateful you are for a certain patient sharing their story with you; grateful for being asked to contribute an article; grateful to enjoy the clinic you practice in. Write down these grateful moments or say them aloud to yourself. Speak of them often or write them down frequently. These are the positives that will nullify the negatives that happen throughout your day in practice.

Manage your mindset and actually do what you love

Practice rituals often in your daily work routine that make you feel good and put you in a great frame of mind. Figure out who you are: not just your personality and what you present on the outside to others, but the deeper you. Find your inner voice. What does your heart want and desire to do in the day at clinic? What do you love about your job? Is it speaking to patients, is it writing health articles, is it doing public talks or webinars, or is it being creative with programs? Now practice more of that. Several times per week. Do what feels good to you and do it often. Your job in your job is to continually be feeling good. When you feel good, you will radiate it to your patients. Everyone benefits.

Please share with us. What lights you up? How will you work to prevent burnout in your own life and practice?

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