Say yes — and no — to eliminate physician burnout
HOUSTON — The ability to say yes and no can make a significant difference in the ability to prevent or eliminate physician burnout, according to several panelists here at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting.
“We are the most vulnerable to burnout, but most of us don’t talk about it,” Maeve O’Connor, MD FACAAI, FAAAAI, FACP, of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Relief in Charlotte, North Carolina, told attendees.
Some of the responsibilities and thought processes that O’Connor and Anil Nanda, MD, a practicing allergist and clinical associate professor of medicine in the Dallas area, recommended their peers say yes to, to prevent or eliminate burnout:
- keeping a sense of humor when appropriate;
- avoiding negative thinking;
- engaging in self-care such as by listening to music or resting;
- making a weekly list of enjoyable things to do/make a bucket list;
- conducting huddles as much as possible;
- working smarter, not harder, on electronic health records; and
- training staff to their maximum skill level.
O’Connor acknowledged that some of the ways to avoid burnout may cause financial strain, but added “that money is worth a million, trillion times its weight in gold.”
A few of the tasks and mindsets that O’Connor and Nanda encouraged their colleagues to say no to, to prevent or eliminate burnout include:
- performing nonclinical tasks, such as filing, prior authorizations, ordering prescription refills and billing;
- dwelling on negative studies or reports that suggest the demise of the medical profession;
- resorting to alcohol and substance abuse to cope; and
- agonizing over a patient’s complaints about parking at the office’s location.
The panel discussion ended by Nanda indicating that ACAAI members should remember they are never alone as they struggle with burnout.
“The way I look at it, we’re all in the same family,” Nanda said. “While it’s great that we are helping our patients, it’s also great that we help each other.” – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: Healio Primary Care was unable to determine Nanda and O’Connor’s relevant financial disclosures.
Nanda A. Physician health and wellness: Advocating for ourselves.
O’Connor M. Compare & contrast potential solutions to stress & burnout among AI providers.
Both presented at: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting; Nov. 7-11, 2019; Houston.