If your career as a doctor is causing you stress, you are one among many who are experiencing the same exact thing. Nearly half of medical professionals are burnt out, especially after experiencing a worldwide pandemic.
After spending many years of your life studying in med school, you expected your career as a doctor to be gratifying instead of stressful, depressing, and anxiety-driven. This is common with doctors and physicians, now more than ever. Though working within the medical field can be stressful, like many other jobs, it should not always be this way. Continue to read this article if you are interested in learning about the common stress triggers of doctors, and how to cope with them to live a stress-free life.
Common Reasons Why Doctors Are Stressed
There are an abundant amount of reasons why doctors are experiencing high-stress levels. From working during a pandemic to technical issues, doctors deal with many circumstances and stressors throughout each day. How you decide to deal and manage with these stressors can either heighten your stress or diminish it. Here are the most common reasons why doctors and physicians are so stressed.
1. Bureautic tasks
Doctors are working at a fast pace to ensure all patients get seen within the time of operating hours. One late appointment can throw off, and add to their busy day. In order to successfully run a medical facility, doctors need to stay on top of their game. This includes documentation, charting, filling out questionnaires, and ensuring it is correctly filed. Instead of diagnosing and helping more patients, a lot of your time is spent taking notes and completing the required questionnaires regarding your patients.
You did not spend hours studying, and years in medical school to fill out documents. You earned a medical degree to help patients find the answers they have been searching for. You are overwhelmed by the amount going on within one day at your medical facility. This is why doctors lack fulfillment and are led to physician burnout.
2. Long hours
Doctors are passionate about their careers and care about the many faces of patients they see each day; however, they are exhausted due to the amount of time they spend at work. Days are much shorter as they work 10-12 hour days, and they quickly begin to realize how valuable time is. Although doctors dedicate themselves and their time to patients, they also need time off to destress, relax, and recharge. Roughly 35% of doctors claim that they are spending too many hours at work, and have felt burnout because of it. Furthermore, Medscape has reported that doctors spend nearly 45 hours per week seeing and advising patients, and another 15-20 on administration work.
3. Health IT Issues
A majority of doctors and physicians have communicated their frustration with technical issues that arise in the middle of their day, causing appointment delays and further issues. Additionally, website issues can decrease website traffic and therefore, decrease clientele. It is important to make sure both your website and software are up-to-date and accessible at all times. While technology is supposed to make doctors’ lives easier and more efficient, about 70% of doctors and physicians have expressed how much stress technology has caused them. Technology and software should make the lives of doctors simple and smooth.
4. COVID-19 Impact
COVID-19 largely contributed to the stress on doctors and physicians. Medical professionals were put at the forefront of a situation no one was prepared for. COVID-19 patients needed special care and non-covid patients still needed help with their ongoing health complications. Doctors were heavily relied on and put at risk, significantly increasing their stress factors.
How to Reduce Stress as a Doctor
1. Hire a Medical Scribe Assistant
A medical scribe is someone who specializes specifically in charting patients’ medical exams and taking note of additional important information. They ensure the charts and notes are properly completed and filed. Medical scribes do all of the administrative work so the doctor does not have to. It can take a lot of the weight off the doctors’ shoulders and give them more time to focus on patients and their needs.
2. Office Tasks Automation
Running a successful medical facility or a doctor’s office requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work. There are many tasks that require immediate attention and need to be completed within a certain amount of time to keep your patients happy. It is likely your medical staff is also bombarded with work more often times than not, which usually results in the doctor helping when they can, with as much as they can.
One thing that seems to take up a copious amount of time is appointment booking. Of course, appointment booking is necessary and beneficial when it comes to the organization of your facility. However, it is very time-consuming and the time used for booking appointments can be put towards larger tasks. Consider the tasks that don’t necessarily require face-to-face interaction with patients, like appointment booking. Incorporate appointment booking automation so both you and your medical staff can focus on tasks that require hands-on attention.
3. Hire a Medical Agency and Integrate your EMR
It is obvious your medical website plays a huge role in increasing clientele and connecting with patients. As a doctor, it is hard to keep up with your medical facility’s website. Fortunately, there are agencies that can do this for you so you can focus on your medical facility, and your patients while the agency focuses on increasing the number of patients you have. Medical marketing agencies can design your website, publish content, and enhance your SEO strategies so your website becomes a result for searchers who are in need of a doctor.
Integrating your EMR will take a lot off of your plate as a doctor. It will allow patients to see your availability and book an appointment accordingly, send appointment reminders, sync appointments to your calendar, and send post-appointment messages. This allows your practice to easily increase bookings, gain a better reputation, enhance the patient experience, and allow you and your medical facility to be more productive.
4. Incorporate Online Services
COVID-19 changed the way the world worked in many ways, especially for doctors. The entire world temporarily transitioned to a virtual style of living, forcing hospitals and medical professionals to run a business using online resources only. Many doctors and patients booked online appointments and virtually attended their appointments instead of in-person meetings. Ever since then, many patients prefer a virtual style, and medical facilities now offer online appointments and resources. This is why it is very important you have a user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, efficient medical website. Potential and current patients use your website as a resource to learn more about you, book appointments, and attend virtual appointments. Ensure you have a website that leads to conversions and happy clients.
If you are a doctor that is experiencing high-stress levels, and are overwhelmed and burnt out, consider minimizing the small tasks that require a large amount of time throughout each day. Rely on assistants, software, and agencies to complete the unclassified work, while you focus on your patients and the tasks that require a physician/doctors attention. Give yourself more time and decrease stress that has been ruling your life as a medical professional.