Dental Practice Burnout: 5 Symptoms and 5 Remedies

Dental Practice Burnout: 5 Symptoms and 5 RemediesAccording to the University of California, Irvine Department of Medicine, the health professionals most at risk for burnout are physicians, nurses, social workers, dentists, care providers in oncology and AIDS-patient care personnel, among others.

In many of The Wealthy Dentist surveys dentists have complained of career burnout.

Burnout is considered either emotional or physical exhaustion, usually caused by stress at work. It was initially described in the 1950s by Hans Selye as ‘the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made upon it and discouragement in the work setting’.

According to the U.C. Irvine report, burnout is viewed also as a complex of psychological responses (strain) to the particular stress of constant interaction with people who are in need. Differing from other interactional symptoms related to job stress is the effect on others seen as a depersonalization of clients.

Symptoms of Burnout –

1. Negative Feelings.
Feelings of disillusionment and being ‘stretched too thin’. Feeling that you aren’t making a ‘difference’ in your approach to lifelong goals. Other feelings of burnout are the feeling of being ‘run down’, easily frustrated and feeling that you are unable to concentrate.

2. Interpersonal Problems.
Your tolerance level drops as the burnout grows and you find yourself increasingly unable to handle social interactions. You begin to dehumanize your relationships by thinking of your dental patients not as people but as objects.

3. Physical Manifestations.
Burnout shows up physically as exhaustion, muscle pain, headaches, insomnia, respiratory illnesses, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and hypertension.

4. Substance Abuse.
Often people suffering from burn-out will self-medicate their anxiety, depression and insomnia with drugs or alcohol.

5. Inefficiency at Work.
Burnout causes productivity to wane as you become less effective overall, either by hiding in your office or staying away from work more often.

Remedies for Burnout –

1. Take a Two Week Vacation.
Quite often by distancing yourself from your work you will be able to make some decisions on things you can do differently to alleviate stress when you return to your dental practice.

2. Cut Back Your Work Hours.
Sometimes burnout appears from an unwillingness to delegate job duties. Consider cutting back on your work load by delegating tasks you don’t enjoy and consider cutting back your dental practice hours if you can.

3. Schedule Time For You During the Day.
Make sure you always take a lunch break. Make it at least an hour and a half three days a week and schedule some light exercise for the last half hour like a brisk walk around the block or a yoga class.

4. Put Your Health First.
Go to bed at the same time every night and work on getting enough sleep. Look at your diet and see where you can cut out high sugar foods, and make time to relax with good friends on weekends.

5. Write Your Thoughts Down.
Some people find that keeping a journal at home and expressing your feelings of frustration on paper can go a long ways towards helping you deal with burnout. Commenting anonymously on this blog might even help too.

The most critical thing about burnout is to recognize it’s a shout out from your exhausted self. Try changing things up a bit in your life to break out of your routine. Come into the office thirty minutes later, drive a different route to work, learn a new hobby, or work on something you love. Take a break and list all the reasons you chose dentistry as your profession in the first place.

Have you ever suffered from burnout?  What advice would you give dentists for dealing with burnout?

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

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