Burnout – Is It Real?

Burnout – you’ve heard the buzz word time and again, but is it a real thing? The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as a specific work-related stress that causes physical and emotional exhaustion and while it is not a medical condition, it can lead to someone feeling less accomplished or satisfied with their job performance and could possibly cause a loss in one’s personal identity. A post on Forbes.com states burnout is real, and is caused by an imbalance in one’s professional and personal life.

While I don’t discredit that work can be stressful and everyone needs to balance their professional and personal lives, I would like to make the argument that burnout is not as prevalent as the business and psychological fields make it out to be. That’s because if you love what you do, you are less likely to burn out from doing it.

Consider this: Would you have spent four years in college, years in dental school, followed by internships, residencies, fellowships, etc., if you didn’t feel passionate about caring for people? After all that schooling, does that passion fade away once you’re practicing in a clinic?  I would argue that it does not happen quickly, and the stress that leads to burnout can be prevented.

Here are some ways how:

  • Balance – You cannot live on work alone. Leading a productive professional life happens away from the clinic, too, when you spend time doing things you enjoy with people you love.
  • Culture – When you work in an environment that supports your professional needs and provides you with qualities to keep you happy personally, you are bound to be more successful in both areas. To ensure that happens, clinic owners and associates should work together to create the environment that makes it possible to do both (consistent schedule, time off, supportive staff, mentorship, etc.)
  • Goals – Setting professional goals and working toward achieving them is one way to keep you inspired at work and prevent you from reaching burnout.
  • Communication – Open communication, from both the clinic owner and associates, is key. Owners should set clear expectations but make sure to check in with your staff to ensure they are happy and feel appreciated. Associates, you must be your biggest advocate and let your staff know when things are getting hectic or out of control.

I love what I do, which is why after more than 30 years, I continue to feel passionate about bringing people together to do good work for others. I credit my low turnover to creating a safe and empowering environment in our office so that my staff is set up for success, and it shows in the job they do for our clients. I would appreciate the opportunity to explain how we can make it work for your clinic.