Many of us work 5-6 days a week. There are even those who work 7 days a week, almost nonstop. The number of hours a person works can be determined by the kind of profession or working environment this person has. Lots of employees with endless workdays tend to neglect taking some time off due to career priorities. Not to mention that there are instances when taking a day off is not possible such as in the case of doctors or surgeons who are on call 24/7.
Showing this much dedication to work and to provide service to others is extremely commendable yet it can take a toll on the person’s overall well-being. When this extremely busy work cycle is not broken, physicians, including surgeons are likely to experience burnout.
Burnout is a term that was coined in the early 70s and is defined as the extermination of an individual’s motivation to do tasks especially those that are work-related. When such an incentive is expunged, the desired output tends to suffer.
The vast majority of individuals who suffer from burnout attribute chronic or prolonged stresses at work. Burnout is characterized by three aspects, these are exhaustion, skepticism, and decreased feelings in a person’s professional capacity.
In the simplest terms, burnout is when a person feels constantly exhausted and is feeling a decreased capacity to do their job, more significantly lots of people who get burnt out begin to detest their jobs. Because many spend much of their waking hours at their job, dreading to show up for work can wreak havoc on their health.
Dangers of a burnout
Aside from the obvious disinterest in the job, burnout can cause many dangers to the health of an individual. Surgeons who tend to be working on procedures for several hours straight are expected to be in optimum health. When stressors and burnout set in from a lack of having a day off, a physician’s overall wellbeing is at risk. These are some of the common issues that plague individuals who do not get enough free time.
It may not seem obvious at first, but stressors tend to creep up and cause a person with anxiety and even depression. Though many individuals can be diagnosed with depression, they can outwardly display a facade that is perfectly normal and seemingly okay. Inwardly however they are filled with turmoil. The feeling of anxiety can cause them to make rash decisions in both their personal and professional life.
A lack of ample rest can cause any person to exhibit mood changes. This change can make anyone go through various emotions. For a lot of individuals, this means a shift in their mood can drastically affect the way they respond to others around them. It can also affect the way they handle their jobs and the decisions that surround them.
While there are those who end up becoming overly exhausted to the point they fall asleep even during the most inopportune moments. But there are those however who experience the opposite. Going without insufficient rest can result in sleeping disorders like insomnia. Rest is important because this allows the human body to recharge and regenerate cells. Thus a lack of rest, i.e, insomnia can affect a surgeon’s ability to do their job correctly and think straight.
Loss in appetite
Sooner or later healthcare providers like general doctors or surgeons can become so tired from having very few days off that they also begin to lose interest in eating properly. Just like sleep, the human body benefits from having a well-balanced diet. Which in retrospect is difficult for many surgeons to follow through given how busy their schedules often are.
Regardless of the job title, going without a day off or vacation can cause some interference with a person’s concentration. Due to the complexity of the surgical profession, a lack of focus can then influence the way they perform their job. Poor concentration during a surgical procedure can then result in serious consequences for all those involved.
Taking a day off and preventing burnouts
It isn’t uncommon for companies no matter what the industry is to allot or require a set number of workdays for employees to take off. Some jobs typically give employees at least one day each week for rest. Sick days and vacation leaves of absence are also set in place. Rather than stash this free time from work on a forgotten shelf, a person should take advantage of it and take as many breaks as possible.
Stepping away from the office desk or medical facility altogether helps doctors and surgeons clear the mind. It gives them the reboot they need to go to work refreshed and able to see perspectives with more focus.
Vacations aren’t designed to wash away any work issues, but going on breaks jump-starts a person’s outlook on their jobs and personal lives. It lets individuals work on their issues or determine the steps that they need to take in order to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
Detoxing from a hectic work life can be as simple as limiting the number of times a person checks his email or messages. If possible, switch off mobile phones or inform colleagues to only contact you when the situation is extremely urgent. Trying out new hobbies or learning new skills can distract surgeons with other things besides the usual workplace activities. Breaks from work should also be used to redefine goals and values. This can include where a person sees his career path going. Is the surgeon’s goal based on attaining a higher salary, is it about career growth and experience? Aligning personal values with work goals can relieve any pressures so that future burnouts can be avoided. If there is any silver lining to burnouts caused by not taking enough days off, this is the opportunity that allows physicians to reflect on their career choices and how it can work hand in hand with their personal life.