SIDEBAR: How to Reduce Burnout

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Although definitive solutions to preventing or overcoming burnout are still being researched, Michael P. Kosty, MD, a member of ASCO’s Workforce Advisory Group and Director of the Scripps Green Cancer Center, said taking regularly scheduled time off and pursuing outside interests may help. “It appears that physicians with more outside interests, such as golf, running, or traveling, who are able to take time off from their work a little more frequently are probably less likely to have burnout than people with their nose to the grindstone all the time.”

One of the aspects of burnout the Workforce Advisory Group will be looking at in ASCO’s Physician Wellness survey is “what makes the difference in determining who becomes burned out and who does not among physicians who have been in practice for a similar amount of time,” said Dr. Kosty.

In addition to taking time off, ASCO’s Workforce Advisory Group suggests:

Leaning on a mentor, supervisor, or colleague for support

Recognizing the physical or mental signs of burnout—ie, unexplained headaches, backaches, or other physical ailments; fatigue; lack of job satisfaction; and using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better—and seeking professional help

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