Health Literacy,  Stress

Doctor’s Dilemma: Finding the Right Work-Life Balance in Your Medical Career


Being a doctor is one of the most rewarding jobs available out there, but there’s a catch: since you’re dealing with countless patients, medical procedures, and the regular emergency calls, the job can easily affect your work-life balance. In fact, one of the most common causes of burnout in many doctors is that they feel like they barely have time to spare for family or recreation.

If you’re one of those doctors and you’re starting to feel the effects of burnout, it’s important to address the problem before everything spirals out of control. Here are a few effective tips on avoiding the dreaded burnout and restoring a healthy work-life balance.

1. Schedule Your Personal Time

Don’t feel bad about dedicating some time to yourself. During your personal time, do anything that you feel can help get your mind off things. Take a walk, do quick exercises, read a book or even go out with your friends and family. How much time you can set for yourself is completely up to you, but most of the time it coincides with your days off. Speaking of days off…

2. Plan Out Your Leaves

Even the most hard-working doctors need some time away from the hectic hospital environment. However, there’s no telling when you can take some time off unless you plan your leaves way ahead of time. Aside from having a more predictable schedule to stick to, planning out your vacation leaves also gives you something nice to look forward to as the days draw nearer.

3. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

Because they’re always needed, some doctors feel like they should be working non-stop (especially during peak months). This means they end up putting more unnecessary pressure on themselves, even when they’re already tired. This not only drains doctors physically, emotionally, and psychologically, but also has a negative effect on their ability to focus, which can be very dangerous in an environment where small mistakes can literally cost lives.

4. Don’t Bring Your Work Home

There are simply times when you can’t help but think about the treatment of certain patients or planning out how to handle a huge influx of consultations the next day. However, you should try to keep your mind off work if you’re outside work hours. Not bringing your work home frees up your mind and allows you to focus more on enjoying your personal time.

5. Delegate Part of Your Work

There’s no denying that as a doctor, you will always find yourself facing a huge variety of tasks on regular basis, but that doesn’t mean you always have to take on every task by yourself. If necessary, get help from an assistant, a medical aide, or another colleague when handling certain tasks. Aside from helping free up your schedule, it also keeps the work from being a lonely daily grind.

6. Remember that You’re Doing a Great Job

Being a doctor is one of the noblest professions out there. Every day, you use your hard-earned skills to help improve your patient’s health and even save lives to some extent. Remember the importance of your profession and how you get to help out countless people on a regular basis. By learning to appreciate yourself and your job, working won’t be as stressful or as depressing as you previously thought it was.

Nobody said being a doctor is easy, but by keeping these tips in mind, you’ll always be able to see your job as a rewarding experience day in and day out.

Monica Mendoza is the manager for a fortune 500 company. She counts communication coaching and personality development among her passions. In her spare time, she engages in writing, gardening, surfing, and hiking.

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