Feeling burned out and looking for help?

When physicians feel burned out, they can turn to a career or life coach or an employee assistance program

Paula S. Katz | September 28, 2015

If you’re feeling burned out, find a career or life coach or consider accessing an employee assistance program (EAP) or employee wellness program, if available, says Peter Moskowitz, MD, career and life coach for physicians and executive director, Center for Professional and Personal Renewal, Palo Alto, Calif.

While you can self-refer to an EAP, family, friends and colleagues can also make referrals, says Deb Wood, PhD, senior consultant and certified employee assistance professional with Minneapolis-based VITAL Worklife, a national behavioral health consulting organization.

Not sure if you need help or just having a bad day? Check out the warning signs that can lead to burnout.

Physicians are referred not only when they’re in a full-blown crisis, but also when warning signs go off. “If you notice that for the last couple of weeks you’re not spending time with your patients because they’re irritating you,” she says, “we talk about it.”

Dr. Wood asks physicians to become self-aware and answer questions like, “Is my marriage what I want it to be? Is my involvement with my kids what I want it to be? What don’t I like about my job?” Talking about these issues with someone can help make priorities, she explains.

An EAP counselor can also discuss nutrition, she says. “If you’re eating a bag of jelly beans every day or three desserts at night,” Dr. Wood explains, “that lets us know something is happening and we need to investigate it.”

Counselors can also recommend that the physician go to a therapist for depression screening, if needed. If, however, you have thoughts of harming yourself, Dr. Moskowitz says, seek a mental health professional immediately.



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