When we think of businesses that are struggling during the pandemic, our minds likely go to restaurants, small businesses, and local shops. What probably didn’t come to mind was medical practices. At a time when doctors and nurses are needed most, it is strange to think that many professionals in the medical field are leaving their jobs, retiring early, and closing their medical practices.
What is going on in the medical field?
According to a recent New York Times article (Abelson, 2020), small medical practices across the country that are not affiliated with a major hospital are struggling to make ends meet. A recent survey of over 3,500 physicians conducted by The Physicians Foundation in August, 2020, shows troubling findings. 37% of practices saw a volume decrease of 25% or less, while 41% saw volume decreases of 26% or more. Such a decrease in patient volume would make it incredibly challenging to sustain a practice for longer than a few months. In fact, 8% of physicians have closed their practices due to the pandemic (that is 280 practices out of this relatively small sample). In addition, physicians reported decreased income and having to lay off employees. Unfortunately, while telemedicine is on the rise, it is unlikely to make up for the lost revenue.
In addition to leaving the field because of financial strain, many physicians are too burned out to continue working. They are also scared of becoming ill and do not want to put themselves at greater risk. Additionally, physicians who are of retirement age but choose to continue working are now retiring earlier than they would have liked. While these are all valid reasons to leave the profession, there are steps people can take to combat burnout and anxiety.
The first step in dealing with and preventing burnout is to practice self-care. Self-care is not sitting on the couch and binging Netflix all day, but doing things that are actually good for you. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and maintaining social connections. Another important tool in the fight against burnout is fostering healthy relationships outside of work. Some co-workers are our best friends, but spending time with other people may help you get your mind off of work related stressors and annoyances. Focusing on hobbies outside of work is another important burnout preventer. Spending time doing something you love may help you feel more renewed and energized. Lastly, practicing healthy coping skills, such as journaling and stress management techniques, is essential during stressful times.
If you are a physician and you’re struggling with burnout, anxiety, and tremendous amounts of stress, you are not alone. TLC-VR is here to help you overcome these challenging times and equip you with the tools you need to become more resilient. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your employees and coworkers cope during these stressful times.