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How to Stay Content in the Workplace: 
Avoiding Healthcare Burnout

November 18, 2022

In the healthcare profession, it is very common to see physicians, nurses, PTs, ATs, and MAs etc become burnt out with their jobs. Stefan DeHert describes burn out as:

" Burnout has been defined as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of low personal accomplishment that leads to decreased effectiveness at work. Burnout seems to occur mainly in professions involving an interaction with people, such as physicians, nurses, social workers, and teachers but meanwhile, the syndrome has been described in other professions."

One in three physicians are experiencing burnout at any given time and not only does this affect them, but can affect the quality of care provided to patients. The incident rates of burnout increase from the normal occupations to healthcare occupations. It's hard to see these symptoms in yourself, but others will take notice.

This is a diagram DeHert used to describe the five stages of burnout development. If you see yourself falling into this category, there are a few things you can do to find joy again.

The most important thing to do when you are experiencing burnout is optimize your work-life balance and change your life habits.

  1. Relationships- focus on spending quality time and developing connections with your loved ones.
  2. Religious Beliefs/ Spiritual Practice- create attentiveness to nurture your own spiritual aspects.
  3. Attitude- finding meaning and fulfill in your work- whether that's joining a committee or research study to promote better patient outcomes
  4. Self-Care practice- remembering it is okay to take care of yourself - i.e. sleep, regular medical care, exercises, and counseling/ therapy

With the holidays coming up, burnout incidents increase. A few tips to get through the holidays are:

  • Perspective- holiday season is only two months of the year
  • Preconceived Ideas- throw away tasks that leave you full of trepidation
  • Planning- make plans ahead of time instead of making a ton of last minute decisions
  • Permission- make choices for yourself and what you want to do, it's okay.


  • De Hert S. Burnout in Healthcare Workers: Prevalence, Impact and Preventative Strategies . Local Reg Anesth. 2020 Oct 28;13:171-183. doi: 10.2147/LRA.S240564. PMID: 33149664; PMCID: PMC7604257.
  • Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care- REFERENCE: Brigham Young University. Tips for a stress-free flight during the holidays.

About the Author:

Ashley Higginbotham, MBA, ATC | Athletic Trainer - Transylvania University