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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on January 16th, 2015

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How to Keep Your Best Doctors & Nurses from Getting Burnt Out

Healthcare Advice

How-to-Keep-Your-Best-Doctors-Nurses-from-Getting-Burnt-Out-2Burnout is a serious issue afflicting our nation’s most talented doctors and nurses. It’s of vital importance that medical practice managers institute policies and set up procedures to keep their medical professionals from spreading themselves too thinly.

Read on to learn more about how to keep your best nurses and doctors from burning out and maintaining their abilities to provide excellent care to patients on a consistent basis.

Enforce Vacations

Do you have the problem of staffers failing to take vacations and acting like they are superheroes whose presence is constantly required in order for the practice to survive? While such ambition can seem laudable, it can also lead to burnout sooner than you might think.

If you have to enlist your HR department to lay down the law in a memo or meeting, do so at your earliest convenience. Have HR explain that vacation days are mandatory and not an option for them to ignore.

For that matter, make sure your professionals are taking sick days when they need to. Your office does not need to have wounded warriors who will sacrifice their own health (as well as the health of their own family) at the expense of seeing a higher proportion of sick patients.

While it’s true that many physicians are forced to stay up for days during their time as students in a teaching hospital, it is well documented that lack of sleep can lead to significant and potentially life-threatening mistakes.

No Eating Lunch at the Desk

Many doctors will make sure to take a long lunch, sometimes shutting down the office for two hours. This is a perfectly reasonable response to the many demands placed on medical professionals. Doctors are not robots and must have a bit of buffer time in between seeing patients so they can catch their breath and recharge.

Consider implementing a “no eating lunch at the desk” policy at your facility to encourage workers to go outside, get some fresh air and sunshine, or even spend a bit of quality time with colleagues and friends.

Staff to Appropriate Levels

If you are finding yourself stretched too thin and are cramming your schedule with more patients than is reasonable for your current staff level to properly see and treat, something will have to give. Follow industry best practices for your particular type of practice to ensure that you have a good balance of personnel to serve the needs of your pool of patients.

If you really cannot take on additional staff, you may opt for a solution chosen by many medical practices: Temporarily place restrictions on taking on new patients until you can properly manage your patient load.

Use the Right Tools to Work More Efficiently

If your team doesn’t use electronic health records software or take advantage of appropriate practice management software, you should invest in these tools to help them do their jobs more effectively.

With labor-saving templates for processing patient data and instant access via the Internet to insurance entities, your staff will be able to do more work in less time, which can help them avoid burning out.

It’s not uncommon for your most motivated, skilled and knowledgeable employees to want to work more hours than is prudent. One of your most important tasks is to keep an eye out for growing burnout amongst your best nurses and doctors to keep them healthy and happy. Otherwise, you might find medical professionals having to take a leave of absence or outright quitting because they cannot tolerate the stressful working conditions.

Key Takeaway

  • Medical practice managers must keep a vigilant eye on the workload and scheduling of their most talented doctors and nurses to prevent burnout.
  • If you have medical professionals that ignore their vacation and sick days, they may be running themselves ragged. Intervene as soon as possible and enforce vacation requirements.
  • Is your facility staffed to appropriate levels? If you have been stuck with a reduced work force for too long, you run the risk of overburdening the most valuable members of your team.
  • Give your team the correct tools for their job, including the latest in electronic health records software and practice management application solutions to reduce unnecessary work.


About Stephen O'Connor

Stephen O'Connor is the Director of Brand and Digital Marketing, responsible for many aspects of Advanced Data Systems Corporation’s (ADS) marketing, including product marketing, customer acquisition, demand generation, brand, brand design, and content marketing.

Stephen has more than 20 years of healthcare industry experience. Prior to ADS, Stephen spent 11 years at Medical Resources Inc. (MRI), most recently as the Manager of Marketing & Internet Services, where he and his teams were responsible for all marketing efforts and the market positioning of MRI’s services.

Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional.