Physician Disability Insurance: Effects of Physician Stress
According to a survey by Physician Wellness Services, over 86% of U.S. physicians are moderately to severely stressed or burned out on an average day. Nearly two thirds of respondent say their stress has increased from moderately to dramatically in the past three years. Stress can even lead to anxiety and depression, one of the causes of physician disability.
The survey included physicians across the U.S. in a variety of different specialties. It measures the causes of stress and its impact on the physicians’ work and personal lives. As a profession, stress levels are increasing.
There were four external stress factors: the economy, healthcare reform, Medicare and Medicaid policies, and unemployed and uninsured patients. Work-related stress factors included administrative demands of the job, long work hours, on-call schedules, and medical malpractice lawsuits.
There are several threats to the increased levels of stress. Declining job satisfaction, a desire to reduce hours or retire early all are side effects of the stress. Fatigue, sleeplessness, irritability and moodiness all can result in physical and mental health issues. Stressed physicians can also compromise patient care, including safety and risk management.
Overall, respondents were in agreement that a better work-life balance would help manage stress. That included greater flexibility and control over their working hours, and need for nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can ease the case load on physicians.
The study results also suggested that health care organizations could play a crucial role in develop coping skills to deal with stress. Physician-specific employee assistance programs, coaching, and mentoring can also help physicians address stress and burnout at earlier stages, before it becomes overwhelming. Sometimes it can get the best of you, but that is where Physician Disability Insurance comes in.
Take care to protect yourself, your family, and your career. You’ve committed significant financial resources and many hours of study and experience. Physician disability insurance can help where worker’s comp, social security, and savings may not be enough.