Healthy Manager: Battle Burnout at your Rheumatology Practice

Working in the medical field is tough. Working in a specialty field such as Rheumatology can be even more challenging.

The mental, emotional, and physical demands can take a toll on you and your staff. Your team must remain mentally and physically healthy throughout these daily trials when dealing with patients.

Below are four ways to battle burnout at your rheumatology practice.

Be self-aware.

When it comes to burnout, knowledge is power. Learn the symptoms of burnout and know yourself well enough to recognize if you are at risk.

According to Dike Drummond MD, three major symptoms of burnout are:

  • Exhaustion – Physician and emotional exhaustion to the point where you feel as if you can’t keep going.
  • Cynicism – You are frustrated, bothered, and feeling snarky about patients and co-workers.
  • Doubt – You may notice the little voice in your head saying negative things that have you questioning your position and what you do.

While each of these things can happen on any typical day, there is a difference between a bad day and being on the verge of burnout. If you or someone at your practice consistently exhibits these symptoms, it may be time to start working on a cure.

Prioritize your responsibilities.

Build up defenses against burnout by prioritizing your obligations. Multi-tasking is essential in any rheumatology practice, but it is easy to let your ongoing responsibilities overwhelm you and contribute to burnout.

Attempt to manage and prioritize your tasks hourly, weekly, and monthly. Tackle the most critical responsibilities first – when your energy levels and focus are at their highest. Ensure your entire team is following this process as well.

[Want to know about contributing to staff wellness? Click here!]

Utilize your support system. 

To battle burnout, it is essential to have a solid support system surrounding you to be successful. If you have helpful and supportive people in your life, be sure to utilize them! Be willing to ask for help and confide in the people who champion you the most.

Your co-workers are the people around the most throughout the day, so this should be one of your largest support systems. If this doesn’t seem to be the case at your rheumatology practice, start organizing some team bonding days to help build those relationships.

Implement a healthy lifestyle.

Living a healthy lifestyle is vital, but it is truly beneficial when battling burnout. A healthy diet and active lifestyle are good for energy levels, combating weight gain, hormone balance, and improving sleep.

A clean diet and constant activity can help improve your mental and physical health, keeping you healthier and helping you stay engaged and invested at work. Set a good example for your staff by making healthy lifestyle choices. One idea is to consider inspiring them with a weight loss challenge in the office.

While working in the medical field can be rewarding, it is highly demanding. If you or your staff members show signs of burnout, it’s time to implement some changes. Start by following these tips and focus on healing.

After all, you cannot treat others if you do not take care of yourself and your practice first!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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