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Lessons learned: A single academic department's unique approach to preventing physician burnout

      Abstract

      Physician burnout is a recognized problem within medicine and its prevalence appears to be increasing. The symptoms include three major components; exhaustion, depersonalization and feeling a lack of accomplishment. The presence of burnout can have major professional and personal consequences. While there has been much commentary on the impact of burnout, little has been published addressing ways to prevent and resolve the issue. Our department has taken a novel and individualized approach to lower burnout. This includes allowing faculty to personalize their schedules as demonstrated by the perspectives of four breast imaging faculty. We as physicians are as diverse as the patient population we treat which needs to be recognized when addressing solutions to burnout. We propose that most practices and departments can find meaningful ways to allow physicians to increase their sense of autonomy through flexibility and control in scheduling. Having leadership open to unique and sometimes unconventional approaches enables a mutually beneficial culture of respect, productivity, and wellness.

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