In the fast-paced world of medicine, physician burnout has become a pressing concern. Physician well-being not only directly affects the quality of patient care, but it can also have severe consequences for both the individual and the healthcare system, so it’s important to know ways of addressing burnout in physician interviews to assess the organization and how they prevent and handle burnout.
According to Medscape’s 2023 annual physician burnout and depression report, 53% of physicians say they have experienced burnout, and 23% say they have dealt with depression. This alarming statistic indicates a large portion of medical professionals struggle with the challenges of their profession. This can lead to reduced job satisfaction, compromised patient care and career changes.
One of the best cures for burnout seems to be prevention. And the best time to start that prevention can be as early as the job interview process. There are a few things you can do to see how a potential employer prevents and handles burnout.
Step 1: Research the organization’s values and mission
Before the interview, thoroughly research the organization or hospital you are applying to. You will want to find information on their mission, values and any specific initiatives or programs related to employee well-being. If an organization prioritizes its staff’s mental and physical health, they likely have strategies in place to address burnout.
Step 2: Ask the right questions
During the interview, take a moment to acknowledge the prevalence of physician burnout and its impact of the medical community. Talk about the recent studies and statistics that illustrate the scope of the problem. Don’t be shy about expressing your concern for the well-being of health care providers. Then, use the interview as an opportunity to ask some targeted questions that will shed light on a potential employer’s approach to physician well-being. Some subjects to bring up are:
- What counseling services, wellness programs or peer support groups the organization may offer to help physician cope with stress and prevent burnout?
- What are the organization’s policies and practices to promote a healthy work-life balance?
- Does the organization encourage open communication and welcome feedback between physicians and administration regarding burnout concerns?
Be prepared for them to ask questions about how you prioritize self-care and manage stress to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s good to highlight your understanding of the importance of personal well-being. You may even share some strategies you employ to prevent burnout in your own life, such as meditation, engaging in hobbies or even a network of friends and family that provide support.
Step 3: Seek input from current employees
It’s a good idea to reach out to current employees of the organization through professional networking platforms or medical forums. Talk to them about their own experiences with burnout prevention measures and the overall support for physician well-being. This can provide valuable information about how the organization addresses these issues in practice and can also clue you in about the work culture of a place. It can also tell you if what you are hearing from current employees lines up with what you are hearing from your interviewers. It might be a red flag if there appears to be a discrepancy.
By conducting thorough research, asking the right questions, and seeking input from current employees, you can gain valuable insights into how an organization addresses burnout. Remember a supportive, caring work environment plays a critical part in promoting a sustainable and fulfilling career in medicine and preventing burnout.
By being your own advocate during the interview process you’ll be on the right path to finding an employer that shares your commitment to having a work-life balance that will help you flourish. After all, in the long run, that’s just as healthy for the organization as it is for you.