Work–life balance is important to achieve in any profession, but professional responsibilities make it particularly difficult for surgeons to achieve. Personal and professional side effects can manifest in surgeons as a result of poor work–life balance, and ultimately, patient safety can be risked. At NexGen, we have seen firsthand the difference a healthy work–life balance can make in the productivity, livelihood and vitality of surgeons who have previously been overworked.
Personal Effects of Poor Work–Life Balance for Surgeons
Work–life imbalance is associated with decreased job satisfaction, reduced productivity and eventual burnout. As physicians and surgeons have demanding clinical and academic schedules and administrative burdens of managing bustling practices, the time for rest, self-care and mindfulness is scarce. As a result, depression levels are reported to be markedly higher in physicians than in the general population and divorce rates are also higher among surgeons than among other internal medicine colleagues. Physicians also tend to sacrifice physical health as well. Multiple studies have demonstrated the physical effects of long working hours, lack of access to healthy food and loss of sleep experienced by physicians.
Professional Effects of Poor Work-Life Balance for Surgeons
A physician’s personal and mental health seriously impacts their ability to treat patients safely and effectively. This has been proven by countless studies, including one that demonstrated that medical students with poor personal health profiles were less likely to recommend evidence-based screenings to their patients or counsel them on healthy lifestyles. Other studies have demonstrated that physicians who work fewer hours have higher efficiency than those who work full time. Unfortunately, physicians who are highly dissatisfied with their job have an increased risk of changing jobs or leaving medicine altogether.
Barriers to Achieving Work-Life Balance
It takes an in-depth understanding of a surgeon’s professional responsibilities to be able to help them achieve a healthy work–life balance. A surgeon’s work can encompass many different tasks: operations, clinic duties, paperwork, administrative duties, teaching responsibilities, committee work, grant and paper writing, presentations, traveling to conferences and journal reading. Especially in this age of highly accessible technology, these responsibilities are not relegated to the time spent “at work” but can also spill over into the “life” time. Challenging this status quo is one of our specialties at NexGen; as we create opportunities for surgeons where they can focus more on patient care and less on administrative responsibilities.
Incorporating Goal-Setting Into Work-Life Balance
When we talk with surgeons interested in transitioning to NexGen, we ask them to identify how they are spending their time now. It may take a few weeks of intentional tracking, but most surgeons report spending little time on their personal health. Next, we ask surgeons to set goals to identify their long-term objectives. Typically, these long-term goals become more quickly attainable after transitioning to NexGen because our positions allow for ample, undisturbed time away from practice.
Making the Most of Time Away From Practice
Making the most of time away from practice is important for surgeons. Rather than taking call or spending your time off working through administrative issues, a position with NexGen will allow you to work two weeks per month and enjoy being completely off work for the rest of the month. When we say that our surgeons can enjoy a flexible schedule and healthy work–life balance, we mean it. We strive to customize opportunities around the desires and requirements of our surgeons and keep their lifestyle goals top of mind as we plan surgical schedules.
Are you ready to transition to a healthier work-life balance? Apply now and our recruiters will set up a time to discuss your background, experience and lifestyle goals.