New skills for general practice: Handling burnout

20th August 2016 by NASGP

New skills for general practice: Handling burnout

In my previous article, I covered how to spot if you have burnout and how a “personalised burnout prevention and recharging action plan” might be a good thing to work on if one has incipient or frank burnout.

It’s very difficult to handle burnout, or the things that are causing it, entirely on one’s own, since it tends to creep up slowly and has many potential contributing factors:

  • organisational culture
  • peer pressure
  • workload
  • time management skills
  • expectations from patients
  • personal values
  • one’s own egos (need to please, fear of failure etc)
  • assertiveness and ability to let go of things
  • demands from family life
  • underlying workaholism issues
  • perspective on work/life balance
  • overlay of anxiety and/or depression

Key to identifying which part is making the biggest contribution to your burnout really benefits from having a sounding board – a coach or even a counsellor – to discuss it with; someone who you can be completely and utterly honest. For most, it is a mixture of some or all of the above list, and it is important to realise that there will be things within oneself that are likely to be contributing to it. Yes, one can blame work or career, but only up to a point.

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Dr Vin Ohja

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