“Physician Burnout” is a hot topic these days. At the HFMA Western Region Symposium in Las Vegas we had the opportunity to hear Dr. Rishi Manchanda share his insights on this important issue. A recent issue of Modern Healthcare featured an article on “Battling burnout” that caught my eye. This article said that some hospitals are starting to employ Chief Wellness Officers to help overwhelmed physicians… Hmm – another addition to the C-Suite – CWO!
Now I am the first to acknowledge the importance and value of our physicians – we couldn’t run a hospital without them! But why would we think of burnout just as a physician problem? It seems to me that anyone can be subject to the risk of burnout in the workplace. When you look at the causes of burnout – they appear to be the various sources of stress in the workplace (Organizational, Learning Environment, Practice (or workplace) environment, Society and culture, Personal factors, Rules & Regulations). I’m not sure that physicians have a corner on that market!
And while it might be great to have a CWO responsible for making us all well, happy and unstressed, I tend to think of it as more of a personal problem. Just as burnout likely looks a little different for each of us, so does the cure. So we can all take charge of our own personal wellness, stress and risk for burnout. That does not relieve us as employers from being attentive to organizational issues that might be causing stress for our employees, or offering wellness initiatives to keep folks healthy, but each of us needs to be very thoughtful about our own self-care.
Membership and participation with HFMA can be a valuable tool to caring for oneself professionally. Networking with our peers at a conference often reinforces that we are not alone dealing with various problems and issues in the industry. We have the opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other, as well as keep in touch after we go home. Likewise, the conferences feature education on emerging issues in the field and help keep us abreast of state and national developments. How many times have you returned to work after a conference, re-energized to tackle a problem? HFMA certifications offer the opportunity to invest in your career and build your resume. The HFMA National website offers a wealth of resources and information to assist with your personal and organizational performance and if all else fails and you decide you need a complete change there is the HFMA Job Bank.
We are currently finalizing plans for Montana HFMA’s second annual Women’s Leadership Conference “Women at the Heart of Healthcare” which will be held May 14 in Missoula at the Doubletree Edgewater. One of the major topics of this conference will be self-care and its relationship to burnout. I hope you will make plans now to join us if you can! (Note: men are invited too!!)
Clark Fork Valley Hospital, Plains, MT