The residency period is infamously hard, a grueling schedule that makes sure physicians are ready for the responsibility, tough choices, and difficult time management that come with being a part of the medical profession. Burnout is common enough that many residency programs are adopting rules and guidelines to make them easier to survive, but it’s becoming more and more common and affecting physicians of every specialty and every age.
Young doctors are finding out that practicing medicine doesn’t get much easier after the residency ends, especially since the residency protections go away when they start a regular practice. Physicians nearing the end of their careers are struggling to last until it’s time to retire, and practitioners in the middle are frequently considering an early retirement.
Things are particularly bad for physicians in specialist fields with high demand. Psychiatrists have to cover a wide range of very unique disorders and conditions, and they aren’t helped at all by the stigma that still surrounds mental health. This stigma makes troubling cases even harder and it leads many medical students to avoid the field even as advancing science makes it more useful than ever.
A big part of the problem is the fact that people who chose a job that lets them help others have to spend almost half their time or more filling out paperwork, writing up EMRs, and otherwise spending more time with documents than with patients. This, in turn, leads to patient loads piling up and an increase in patient waiting times to see a doctor.
There are plenty of suggested solutions out there, such as moving physicians between jobs to allow for some variety and adding some regulations so that doctors have to give themselves time to rest now and then. One solution that hundreds of practices, clinics, and hospitals are implementing is medical scribes. Professional scribes like the ones placed by ProScribe act as medical administrative assistants, handling the paperwork and all the other jobs you don’t need a licensed physician to handle. This allows providers to spend more time with each patient, see more patients each day, and actually rest once they return home. Click here for more information about ways a medical scribe can combat physician burnout.