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    Plastic surgeons face high burnout rate

     

    Work-Life Balance

    What should plastic surgeons do in order to protect themselves? Dr. Hultman says he was able to turn around his burnout "by focusing on my health, starting an exercise regimen, changing my diet, focusing on my faith, taking medication. These were all crucial elements to my core recovery."

    In addition, "It's about scheduling discrete, concrete nights at home with family, and date nights with your spouse," he says. "I also started declining or cancelling many of my day-to-day meetings. It's one of the greatest things I could do."

    What else can plastic surgeons do? "Integrate your home and work families, infuse fun at home and at work," advises Michael Bentz, M.D., FAAP, FACS, interim chairman of the Department of Surgery and chairman of the Division of Plastic Surgery at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

    Also, Dr. Bentz suggests, "Actively manage your time in a thoughtful way. There are times in your career when you need to be home earlier in the day, and times when you need to be home later in the day. You need to modulate your schedule to accommodate the things that happen at work and home in the most symbiotic fashion year by year."

    Dr. Bentz also recommends that plastic surgeons bring their families along for work travel and "build mutually supportive clinical and administrative teams."

    In addition, Dr. Bentz pointed to a 2012 Annals of Surgery study into the health and wellness habits of American surgeons. The study reports that "surgeons placing greater emphasis on finding meaning in work, focusing on what is important in life, maintaining a positive outlook, and embracing a philosophy that stresses work/life balance were less likely to be burned out."

    Dr. Hultman and Dr. Bentz report no relevant disclosures. 

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga is a medical writer based in San Diego, Calif.

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