How do you check in with yourself after a difficult shift?

If you’re a physician, you’re well aware of the burnout crisis and the lack of physician wellness initiatives. You may even be experiencing burnout yourself. If this is the case, you’re not alone. More than 40% of physicians—and 50% of female physicians—report burnout, with some specialties reporting even higher rates.

Despite studies suggesting transformational change is needed to combat burnout among physicians, the industry has taken very few steps toward change. This leaves many physicians wondering how they can combat burnout day-to-day. One way we recommend tackling burnout in the New Year? Checking in with yourself after every shift.

Our Shift Discharge Checklist for Physician WellnessOur shift discharge checklist for physician wellness. Here are the six steps for grounding yourself and checking in after a long day: • Take a moment to reflect on the day. • Acknowledge one thing that was difficult during your shift. Allow the feelings to come up, then let them go. • Consider three things that went well. • Are there any colleagues who had a particularly hard shift? Check on them to make sure they’re okay, too. • Rest and recharge—it’s time to shift your attention away from work so you can focus on your personal life.

Every physician likely has their own unique post-shift routine. Whether you like to get in a quick workout, hit the yoga mat or take a nap to combat the stress of a tough shift, it’s also important to take stock of your emotions. While it seems simpler to leave a tough shift and all the emotions from it behind, at the end of the day a healthier way to help our minds cope with stressful environments is acknowledging what made the day difficult.

Try running through our Shift Discharge Checklist. It’s a simple tool that reminds you to acknowledge your responses to the day and check in with yourself and those around you.

Acknowledge both the difficulties and successes of every shift, which are often overlooked. Remember, it’s important to check in on yourself and those around you. The truth is, you never know when someone might need a helping hand. Of course, try your best to really leave work when your shift is over, as hard as that may be.

Burnout Buster – Our Mission and More Resources

A central part of Lightning Bolt’s mission is providing healthcare organizations with tools that promote fair and flexible scheduling for physicians and reduce burnout. We believe a key part of curbing this epidemic is systemic change—not asking physicians to shoulder more responsibility.

In 2019, Lightning Bolt sponsored the first-ever Mindful MD event. At the event, physicians gathered for a day of wellness, healing, and advocacy in the wake of physician burnout. In 2020, we plan to continue addressing burnout by sharing the results of our Pathology of Burnout Initiative. Over the past year, we’ve analyzed millions of physician shift hours to determine whether or not there’s a correlation between shift patterns and burnout.

Looking for other resources to combat stress and burnout? Download our toolkit for change from our Mindful MD event. It’s an interactive workbook that explores burnout and offers helpful tools like self-reflection exercises and more. Stay tuned for upcoming research on the possible correlation between shift patterns and burnout from our Pathology of Burnout Initiative.

Download our Toolkit for Change