Physician Disability Insurance: Preventing Physician Burnout
We discussed in a previous blog the strenuous effects stress can have on a physician. The best method to avoid burnout is preparation. From lifestyle choices, to work-life balance and protecting yourself with physician disability insurance, there are multiple steps you can take now to protect your health and your livelihood.
Burnout is defined by the Journal of the American Medical Association as “a form of personal distress that appears in a markedly more common fashion among physicians compared with depression, substance abuse, and suicide.” It is characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of personal accomplishment.
Physicians are particularly susceptible to burnout because their daily workload involves constant demands and highly intensive interactions with people who have great physical and emotional needs.
The effects of burnout can be harmful for both the patient and the physician, affecting both their satisfaction in their work and the quality of the medical care. Common symptoms of burnout include physical exhaustion, poor judgment, cynicism, guilt, feelings of ineffectiveness, and a sense of depersonalization in relationships with coworkers or patients. Burnout has also been associated with poor health, headaches, sleep disturbances, hypertension, and anxiety.
As a physician, whether you are a resident, surgeon, or have your own private practice, it is essential to protect your livelihood on multiple levels. With burnout, prevention is a better strategy than a recovery. Physicians who focus on their overall well being tend to fare better and ward off burnout. This includes maintaining a reasonable work-life balance, so you have time to focus on personal relationships.
In addition to individual well-being, it is essential to protect your career. There are multiple causes of disability that could prevent physicians from doing their job, ranging from anxiety disorder and depression to injuries that physically prevent physicians from taking care of their patients.
Physician disability insurance covers the tracks that workers comp doesn’t cover. It is designed to replace a significant portion of income lost when illness or injury prevents the policyholder from earning a living. If you have a family to take care of, or medical school loans, being unable to work could be a significant financial hardship.