Work-life balance. It’s a buzzword that continues to get a fair amount of attention across many industries. When it comes to the medical community, this concept is increasingly important as conversations around the depression, burnout and dissatisfaction that physicians commonly experience mean they face overall unhappiness regarding their career choice and its effects on their lives.
Work-Life Balance Isn’t a Meaningless Trend
Today’s millennial physicians are placing greater importance on the balance between their work life and personal life. They’ve seen the effects that burnout has on their colleagues which has fueled their desire to make changes for their own lives. In fact, according to a survey by the American Medical Association (AMA) of 200 physicians aged 35 and under, 92 percent placed noted that it was important for them to be able to balance work, family and personal responsibilities.
Another factor is the dynamics that are the norm for today’s families. In most cases, both adult members of the family work and must navigate daily juggling without the assistance or support from family members who often don’t live nearby. Both of these elements have increased the pressure regarding physicians’ abilities to effectively manage work-life balance. Of those physicians who responded to the AMA survey, just 65 percent felt that they had achieved the balance they desired though.
Finding Work-Life Balance
Of course, every physician’s life and practice is different, but making a few small changes can help shift the balance so that it is more equal between work and life.
Recapture the Purpose
Most physicians decided to on their career choice because they have a passion for helping people. When faced with burnout, though, it’s easy to lose sight of this. In order to keep the focus on the purpose of entering the medical field, it’s important for a physician to align their own needs with that of their practice and their family.
Foster a work environment that is supportive and welcoming so that it feels like physicians are spending time with friends instead of just coworkers. Personally following up on patients at their homes shortly after seeing them reminds physicians that their patients are human and the reason why they went into medicine in the first place.
Make Priorities Clear
It might help for physicians facing burnout to sit down and list their priorities in order of importance. While it might be important for them to grow their practice, perhaps partnering with someone or joining an established organization could make more time for life outside of work. A physician might want to attend every performance, practice and game that their children are involved in. Trading off with their spouse or enlisting in the services of a trusted caretaker for practices could help them focus more fully on work.
Reassess Time Management Skills
Fostering good time management skills is a necessity during today’s busy lives. When it comes to physicians, though, those skills must be honed to a fine point. This starts with setting goals — both short- and long-term — organizing and planning in order to meet those goals and reducing the amount of time spent on activities that waste valuable time.
One strategy physicians can adopt is to have a short meeting each morning before seeing patients. This gives everyone a heads-up about what is needed prior to the busy day beginning. Automating as many functions as possible — from bill paying and take-out dinners to medical billing and accounts receivable — can free up time that would otherwise be spent on tedious tasks.
It’s easy to get into a routine that seems to be working but during times of transition and upheaval, they might not be as effective. Some examples of when goals might have to be tweaked include the birth or adoption of a child, the completion of training, when a family member needs more care, marriage or the death of someone close.
With careful attention to their needs, goals and desires, today’s physicians can use the plethora of resources and tools available to help them meet their desire for work-life balance. M-Scribe Medical Billing helps streamline and automate many physician office functions. Learn more by calling 770-666-0470 or email me today for a demo.