How Locum Tenens Practice Can Combat Provider Burnout
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and one of the biggest mental health challenges clinicians face today is burnout. In fact, nearly half of American physicians are burned out, according to a national survey of more than 12,000 doctors in over 29 specialties. And more than 70 percent of its respondents who reported burnout said it is serious enough to have at least a moderate impact on their lives, affecting happiness, relationships, career satisfaction, and even patient care.
When asked about the most common causes of burnout, they cited things like excessive bureaucratic tasks, spending too much time at work, and lack of control/autonomy. Fortunately, locum tenens jobs can alleviate all of these issues and more. Here, we list seven ways locum tenens can combat burnout for physicians, NPs, PAs, and CRNAs.
1. Focus on patient care. When asked “What contributes most to your burnout?” 58 percent of physicians surveyed by Medscape blamed having too many bureaucratic tasks. Locum tenens providers, however, are able to stay focused on their patients. They come in, work their shift, and go home. Patient care is their primary responsibility.
2. Control your own schedule. The number two reason given for burnout by providers who responded to the abovementioned survey was “spending too many hours at work.” That need not be an issue for locum tenens providers since they decide how often they want to work and how much time they want off in between assignments.
3. Try out new practice settings. Stepping in at different facilities, working alongside new colleagues, and treating a varied patient population helps to keep things interesting. Locum tenens clinicians are always learning new things, which is often an antidote to boredom and burnout.
4. Explore new locations. Keeping things fresh outside of work can also help keep burnout at bay. Many who take locum tenens assignments seek out opportunities in different parts of the country, using their contracts as a way to explore new areas, spend time near extended family, or have working vacations.
5. Exercise regularly. The survey, conducted August 30 through November 5, 2020, also asked respondents how they cope with burnout, and exercise was the top response. Since locum tenens providers have more control over their schedule, they are more likely to find the time they need to start and/or maintain a regular exercise schedule.
6. Engage in personal interests. Having control over your own schedule—as well as being able to vary your location—also means you can more easily pursue seasonal activities. Locum tenens practice often lends itself well to pastimes such as skiing, surfing, hiking, mountain biking, golfing, and fishing.
7. Prioritize personal satisfaction. It can be challenging to feel satisfied while spending countless hours commuting to a regular job where you sacrifice big chunks of time on bureaucratic tasks. Fortunately, through locums, you can find the time and the freedom to make your personal satisfaction a priority.
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