Burn out can be defined as ‘fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork or intense activity.’ (Official source: the Dictionary app in my iphone).
Even before I graduated as a Physiotherapist, I was told in one of my University classes that I was likely to burn out. I hadn’t worked a day in my shiny new profession, and my likely fate was set.
It felt really depressing.
Nearly 2 decades later, I have seen many Uni classmates fall by the wayside, burn out, and switch to other vocations. I am still very proud to call myself a physiotherapist, but my career looks very different now to what it did in my early years. Had I not made certain changes to make my work environment and practices more efficient, I feel sure that I would have suffered the same fate.
So how have i avoided burnout in my health career? Here are 5 principles that I believe have contributed to my longevity:
Record any process that you repeatedly carry out in the provision of your health service. This could be anything from how to schedule appointments, to how to process insurance claims or how to follow up with patients. By recording the systems that you use, you can easily repeat them yourself when needed, or hand them over to other colleagues without lengthy explanations, mistakes or phone calls. Simply hand them the systematized list you have already created for that process.
Why do things manually that you can get technology to do for you instead? Are there forms you can transfer online and email to your patient ahead of time? Is there a link you can make between 2 tech systems to duplicate the data between them, without a repeat manual entry? Can you get a button on your website to allow patients to make their own appointments?
For tasks that a computer alone can’t manage, try outsourcing them instead. Websites such as Fiverr and Upwork will allow you to engage people online to complete computer based tasks for you. Think data entry, video editing, graphic design and even answering the phone.
How can you package up your knowledge into an information based product or course that you can sell to people who can benefit from the information? Prevention strategies, education and generic rehabilitation programs lend themselves well to formulating into a product that you create once, then sell many times over.
Work out what is important to YOU and bring it into the way you provide your health service. If you like flexibility and travel, a telehealth model could work well for you. If you love to chat to interesting people, promote your service with a podcast. Love photography? Use great images on social media to draw attention to the ways that you can help people.
Technology has provided us with many ways to reduce our workload, earn more money, and have more fun in our health career. Take a small amount of time each week to develop your systems, automations, products and team. Make your health career feed YOUR lifestyle needs, as well as those of your patient.