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Three components of emergency medicine burnout how ER physician scheduling software can help

Posted on 12/7/2017 by Elizabeth in category: scheduling software articles

Medical residents, doctors and nurses face tremendous pressure and stress. From high-stake evaluations and exams to long hours providing high-quality patient care, your physicians need to be resilient to endure the weight that's put on their shoulders or else suffer burnout.

And, this "burnout" impacts this profession heavily with emergency medicine being among the specialties most affected. A national study was conducted on burnout involving 27,276 doctors from various specialties. Of these doctors, 7288 (26.7 percent) completed surveys and 45.8 percent of the doctors reported experiencing at least one symptom of burnout.

Researchers observed the differences in burnout by specialty and found the highest rate of burnout was among doctors at the front line of care access such as emergency medicine.

Understanding Burnout – The Three Components of Emergency Medicine Burnout

To understand physician burnout, Dike Drummond, MD tells us to think of a bank account. The doctor's energy is stored in this bank account and Drummond says there are three types of energy:

Physical Energy: This represents the physician's ability to "get up and go".
Emotional Energy: This represents the physician’s ability to be compassionate and emotionally available.
Spiritual Energy: This represents the physician's "WHY" or purpose in their work.

Each day a physician works, they make a withdrawal from this energetic bank account, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Each doctor varies on the amount of the withdrawal. The goal of the energetic bank account is to keep it in a positive balance.

The Three Symptoms of Physician Burnout
These three symptoms of burnout, according to Drummond include:

Exhaustion: Doctors are exhausted on one or more of these three levels — Emotion, Energy, Spirit.
Cynicism: Physicians have lost their ability to empathize, care and connect with staff, co-workers and patients
Doubt: Doctors start to doubt their work makes any difference or they question the quality of their work

Why does this happen?
It could be due to:

- Patient volume
- Unpredictability
- Flow impediments
- Shift work
- Working conditions
- Emotional and physical challenges
- Lack of support

As you're considering these challenges, while some are beyond your control, others you may be able to improve through being more aware and implementing helpful solutions like ER physician schedule software.

So, how can emergency medicine scheduling software help?

It takes commitment to improve your scheduling process. However, proper scheduling will improve patient care through adequate coverage with more motivated and better-rested doctors. As a scheduler, your commitment to the shift scheduling process should:

- Ensure fairness
- Lower physician frustration
- Improve retention
- Increase communications
- Prioritize shifts
- Understand productivity
- Reduce physician burnout
- Help doctors perform better

Even though practicing emergency medicine can be personally fulfilling and meaningful, it can also be stressful and demanding. Physician scheduling that's flexible and fair can help reduce some of this stress and therefore, reduce burnout.

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