Coping with burnout: Healthcare shouldn’t be hazardous to your health
High blood pressure and runs of tachycardia took hold after Dr. Robert Carr took on new responsibilities outside his comfort zone.
“That really shocked me,” Dr. Carr said. “It showed me that anyone can succumb to pressure.”
Dr. Carr, president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, is currently speaking at several Greenway Health events across the country on how to avoid the pressures that lead to burnout symptoms.
“We’re experiencing unprecedented changes in healthcare — policy and reimbursement changes, increased levels of uncertainty, documentation and other administrative complexities— leading to the profession of medicine redefining itself. That has led to a lot of strain in the system and pressure on its people,” Carr said.
Changing your mindset
When Dr. Carr tells his own personal story about stress, he talks about eventually adapting and growing more comfortable and confident with his new responsibilities and regaining his health. He also talks about how he changed his way of thinking.
“By changing my mindset, it allowed me to not be so frustrated with the tedious, bureaucratic tasks I was being asked to do,” he said. “For example, by shifting my thinking to how my role and the organization allowed me to achieve my ultimate purpose in life, that changed my whole mindset.”
Proactively dealing with stress and pressures
To address physician burnout, Dr. Carr believes a proactive approach, one that recognizes its symptoms and applies evidence-based tools, has the most promise. He helps physicians build a framework for well-being and resilience by identifying what they can control in their lives through the awareness of:
- Their most pressing life pressures.
- Feelings that result from pressures.
- Actions that result from those feelings.
Once physicians have identified what they can control, Dr. Carr guides them through three basic strategies to help them take back control and build resilience:
- Effectively managing their energy.
- Achieving a positive mindset with reframing exercises.
- Realizing a deeper connection to purpose.
“Although the practice of medicine is redefining itself,” Carr said, “physicians can implement strategies in their lives to reduce the negative consequences of these changes on their health and well-being, to stay motivated, and regain life balance.”