AUA 2019: State-of-the-Art Lecture: Burnout

Chicago, IL ( Chandru Sundaram presented a lecture on urologic physician burnout. It is defined as a long-term job stress, which leads to physical and psychological exhaustion and decreased sense of personal accomplishment. The presenter introduced following coping methods: physician control and flexibility, analysis of every aspect of a job, work calendar and life calendar, mentorship and coaching.

Physician control and flexibility involved control of weekly schedule, number of patients per clinic, and overall flexibility with clinical hours. Dr. Sundaram called upon dedicating 20% of work time for pursuing area of interest related to the clinical subspecialty or nonclinical activities such as administration, teaching, research, quality improvement, community outreach, and public policy.

It is also important to analyze every aspect of a job and decide on the end goal. Dr. Sundaram has quoted Joe Jackson who said that “you cannot get what you want until you know what you want”. Maximizing the overlap between current job and ideal job can decrease burnout. 

Work and Life calendars can be helpful not only in maintaining clinic and/or surgery days, academic/administrative days, and meeting, but also in delegating and coordinating tasks. Presenter stressed an importance of not saying “yes” to everything when one cannot commit to the activity. Life calendar can allow to track physical activity, entertainment, vacations, and schedule spontaneity.

Service, mentorship, and coaching can also mitigate burnout effects. Personal involvement and service to the field, the institution and organization can extremely rewarding. Being a mentor to the younger faculty or seeking a mentor in the older colleagues will provide mental and professional support and potentially decrease physician burnout.

Finally, Dr. Sundaram stated that though burnout is real in urologic physicians, its’ effect can be minimized by working individually and as a team.

Presented by: Chadru P. Sundaram, MD; Indiana University 

Written by: Hanna Stambakio, BS, Clinical Research Coordinator, Division of Urology, University of Pennsylvania @AStambakio at American Urological Association's 2019 Annual Meeting (AUA 2019), May 3 – 6, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois