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Overcoming Physician Burnout

August 24, 2022

Adam Lueken

Personal and professional burnout can happen in a variety of professions, whether from stress, emotional or physical exhaustion, etc. This can be especially true for physicians. Doctors in all fields, including dermatologists, often see a large number of patients daily, and in many cases, while still running the business side of their practices. Prior to those challenges, physicians face rigorous medical schooling and clinical training. And often in medicine, a culture of self-reliance and independence persists, so doctors feel like they can’t show signs of weakness.

All of these factors can lead to burnout – emotional exhaustion, cynicism and negativity in place of empathy, and a low sense of professional impact. This can negatively impact your patient satisfaction and care, and cause work/life balance issues and additional problems outside of the practice.

Along with internal and external factors, certain personality traits can also increase the risk of physician burnout. Being a perfectionist can lead to obsessing over negative situations or things that are outside of your control. Similarly, being a micromanager and trying to control everything going on can be unrealistic. These are often extreme degrees of good traits, like personal accountability and strong work ethic, that are taken too far.

Identifying the early signs of burnout will make it easier to stop it from spiraling out of control. Here are a few tips to avoid major burnout:


If you’re starting to feel burnt out in your practice, take a personal reflection on yourself and what’s important to you, whether it’s family, career, your community, health, spirituality, etc. Are you currently spending an adequate amount of time on what’s personally important to you? There are a variety of ways to promote your own self-care, such as hobbies, making time for family and friends, focusing on a healthy lifestyle with exercise and adequate sleep, and practicing mindfulness. You can also rearrange your own hierarchy of importance, in order to best take care of yourself.

Define Ideal Work/Life Balance

Along those same lines, once you identify what’s important to you, set boundaries when it comes to your personal life and professional life. In your practice, even though you may be the lead physician and business leader, you can’t be everywhere all at once. It’s beneficial to set specific boundaries when it comes to patient scheduling, patient volume and time spent in office.

Implement Practice-Level Strategies

In addition to evaluating yourself and how you can improve your work/life balance, bring in your team and establish strategies in your practice to benefit everyone’s personal and professional satisfaction. Incorporate more opportunities for teamwork, team outings/retreats, sharing of workload, cross-training and coaching for challenging experiences.

If you see these warning signs of burnout in yourself and are beginning to feel exhausted or disconnected from practicing, you’re certainly not alone. Many physicians are experiencing the same issues, but by realizing it and acting, you can have the balance and satisfaction you want.

And if the stress of being a practicing dermatologist and a business owner is becoming too much and contributing to burnout, we’re here to help. VitalSkin is designed to alleviate the challenges of running a business, so you can focus on patient care and practice on your terms. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!



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