Physician Burnout: Recognizing, Addressing, and Preventing Professional Exhaustion


Even if you love your job, there is a risk of becoming exhausted by it. In fact, the more you like your profession, the more likely it is that you’ll eventually grow fatigued because of it. You’ll enjoy every second of your day but if you don’t slow down, assess how you’re feeling, and sometimes make changes, you are setting yourself up for a disaster. 

This is especially true for physicians. Doctors have some of the hardest jobs in the world and even though they are often fairly compensated with a high-paying neurosurgeon salary or the pay rate of another particular medical profession, they are still at risk of professional exhaustion.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are certain steps that you and any other medical professional can take to make sure that burnout doesn’t happen. It is vital that all of this is kept in mind so that you can be the best doctor you can be. 


First and foremost, you must look inward to avoid professional exhaustion. Evaluate your personal stress, energy, and mood on a regular basis. Do you need more sleep or more exercise? Now is the time to address that. Make sure that you check in on yourself daily so you know how you’re feeling. Sometimes that is harder than you might imagine. 

Recognize early indicators of burnout because there are many such chronic exhaustion or a decline in motivation. Recognize how crucial it is to preserve a positive work-life balance too. If you’re spending long hours at work, you need to be sure you’re spending many hours in your personal life too.

Set Expectations

Don’t ask too much of yourself! Don’t set your expectations too high! Instead, create realistic expectations and goals for yourself and make sure that you acknowledge when you reach them too. Be sure that you are steering clear of too ambitious goals since they might cause frustration. When you must, always divide more complex jobs into smaller, more doable steps.

Create Boundaries

Boundaries are wildly important when you are trying to avoid any sort of professional burnout and exhaustion. You have to create the sort of life that you want and that requires that you know what you can and can’t and will and won’t do. Establish clear limits between your personal and professional lives. 

You need to work hard to avoid bringing work home with you or using your personal time for business-related activities. Home should be for home stuff and work should be for work stuff and you need to do whatever it takes to avoid overlap between the two. It’s also important that you inform your supervisors and coworkers of your boundaries so that they too know what to expect from you. 


More than anything, you need to remember that it’s never wrong to take care of yourself. By doing so, you will make sure you’re a better employee, a better doctor, and a happier person too. There is nothing wrong with avoiding fatigue and exhaustion.