Facebook Live: Fighting Physician Burnout: 8 Practices To Train For The Inevitable Bout

On August 30th, 2018 we were honored to have Jeff Smith, MD host a Facebook Live event. Mr. Smith is an Orthopaedic Trauma Surgeon who also assists other Surgeons to develop the critical skills needed to create a highly successful lifestyle-friendly practice which is physically, mentally and emotionally sustainable. Mr. Smith joins us to share his signature methodology “The 8 Practices of Highly Successful Surgeons” that he developed based on his own 21 years at University of California San Diego.

Mr. Smith is also a Surgeon Coach and Consultant at SurgeonsMasters, a medical education company delivering strategies and techniques overlooked and underemphasized in traditional medical training. The goal of SurgonsMasters is to focus on learning, understanding and implementing effective habits that will allow all healthcare professionals to create a thriving practice while still having time to travel, connect with family and pursue outside interests.

->Watch the video recording here<-

Mr. Smith’s Live Event covers the following topics

– The Definition and Test of Burnout

– Burnout Rates in Healthcare

– Our Perception and Awareness of Burnout

– 8 Practices of Highly Successful Surgeons

– Tips for Medical Students

– Key Take Aways

– Audience Questions & Answers

The Definition of Burnout

The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)

o “Burnout is a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur among individuals who work with people in some capacity.”

o Find your specific MBI Test Here (https://www.mindgarden.com/117-maslach-burnout-inventory)

Burnout Rates in Healthcare

Our Healthcare culture or system is contributing to 80-90% of our burnout because of inefficiencies or stresses and frustrations imposed on us. However, there are aspects we can control with a proactive approach to train ourselves for facing burnout opposition in the ring.

– 20-30% experience burnout, but potentially more as there is less self awareness about the issue.

– High functioning organisations and departments with a physician leader who is very engaged and effective tend to have lower incidents of burnout among the physicians working under them. Ineffective leaders may be a contributing source of burnout among team members.

– Recent implementation of electronic medical records, other significant changes to the system can add stress to the environment, increasing burnout of those in the organization.

– 48% of women experience burnout vs. 38% of men. Rates increase to 50% between professionals aged 45 and 54 years old.

– Mr. Smith experienced burnout 5 years into his career and again around 50 years old. Even at those times, he was high functioning, busy and successful with his patient care as a surgeon. However, he was less efficient which is a cause of burnout.

Our Perception and Awareness of Burnout

– When surveyed, 40-60% of respondents report experiencing burnout.

– When presented with burnout statistics, we tend to hone in on our specialty in comparison to the others. But we shouldn’t care if our specialty experiences 40% vs 50% burnout when a high functioning specialty should be in the 20% range. There is a lot we can do to improve burnout rates across all specialties in healthcare.

– Burnout creates chaos and synergy. Often as physicians and healthcare administrators we help each other to win the fight. But we also tend to fight alone in our corner or even against each other, increasing stresses that lead to burnout.

– Higher rates of burnout on your team contribute to higher turnover, higher incidences of malpractice, medical errors, decreased patient safety and lost revenue.

– Our experience is not left in the clinic, hospital or research lab. It impacts other areas in our life, we take it with us which impacts our relationships, causes irritability, anxiety and in some cases mental health issues or substance abuses.

– We must take proactive steps to implement habits that reinforce a sustainable practice.

8 Practices to prevent, fight and win against burnout

1. Passion for performance

2. Reciprocity of roles & relationships

3. Attitude resilience

4. Community with mutual understanding

5. Time/life management using rhythm

6. Inspiring other to share goals

7. Complex problem solving through simplicity

8. Energy for personal & practice wellness

Tips for Medical Students

– Learn these practices early in your career, create and reinforce good habits.

– Implement these 8 practices with a regular effort

– Advance other areas other than just medical knowledge or surgery skills

– Improving communication or using simplicity to solve complex problems will help create a wider set of skills needed for a sustainable career in healthcare

– Be mindful of these practices even when you’ll intensely have to learn about one subject

– The key is being proactive and reflecting on how you did implement these practices

– Use constructive positive criticism to keep yourself engaged and accountable

Key Take-Aways

1. Reflection is Key

2. Planning & Setting Goals

3. Incremental Adjustments to Improve; “How can I do it better?”

Questions & Answer

How do we integrate others in implementing the 8 practices?

– Implementing the practices involves the Rs: Reciprocity, Roles and Relationships

– Although we can work on developing these practices on our own, in reality the 8 practices are integrated with those around you and on your team.

– Reach out to others to get feedback about your communication and time/life management.

– Ask how they perceive your quality time and how they can contribute towards improving your preventative burnout practices.

Do you have any tips for avoiding burnout during the last couple of weeks before exam?

– Start to learn healthy eating habits with a difficult schedules and odd rotations

– Start to learn sleep RECOVERY habits for those late nights studying, on rotations, and so on

– Find a way to get regular exercise, even if not your ideal form or quantity. Learning how to do it anyways is really helpful for the future

– Take the opportunity to reflect on what you’re doing. Over a series of exams, review the strategies you found effective and repeat them, making incremental adjustments to keep that success going.

– Allow a small physical recharge, a mental recharge or rest by taking mini breaks.

– Have the ability to support your connections, address people and stay positive!

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