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Journal of ASPR - Winter 2013 - Workplace burnout: Not just for physicians!
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Workplace burnout: Not just for physicians!

By Nancy Nigh, Marketing Director, PracticeMatch Services, Saint Louis, MO

Research has shown most physicians experience burnout at some point during their careers. It’s easy to see why: physicians work more hours per week than the general population, they experience a high level of stress almost every day, and they hold themselves to a level of perfection that is hard to live up to.

However, workplace burnout is not limited to physicians. Physician recruitment professionals can also place similar pressures on themselves and feel similar effects. According to, the signs of burnout can include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment. (Krupa, 2012)

For some physician recruiters, only about half of their time is actually spent recruiting physicians. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and feel overwhelmed by the duties of the job. If you are unable to see the ways in which your role in healthcare makes a difference, then you are much more susceptible to feeling a low sense of personal accomplishment, and to feeling burnout.

According to author Liz Jazwiec, “Employee satisfaction boils down to knowing how we make a difference and how the work we do has purpose and meaning.” When physician recruiters get bogged down in thinking about how hard the job is, they often forget how important their role is to the medical facility. As a physician recruitment professional, your job touches many lives. You ensure that your facility has the right healthcare professionals in place to help and heal the patients coming through the doors. Jazwiec feels that the biggest crisis we face in healthcare today is that the people working in it no longer feel heroic. In her book, Eat That Cookie, she explains that we are fortunate to work in a field in which we can, at any moment, make a difference in someone’s life. She goes on to explain that when people feel heroic, it is amazing what they can accomplish.

Jazwiec mentions several ways that those working in healthcare can maintain a positive attitude and avoid burnout:

Remember that focusing on service does not make the job more difficult, it makes it more rewarding. Focusing on service makes the job better. It makes people feel proud about their work. It makes for a much more positive work environment, and that’s what we need in healthcare.

People are invigorated by accomplishing goals. It gives us a sense of success, yet we do things every day in the workplace that hold us back from achieving success. Getting overly bogged down in the process can lead to drudgery and negativity. Understanding when the process is useful and necessary is better than hiding behind the process to avoid the change that comes with improvement.

Learning how to manage your own morale is essential to your happiness. When you leave your morale in someone else’s hands, you are destined to be unhappy. We get as much negativity in our workplace as we are willing to accept. Creating a positive workplace is worth every effort you put into it.

While we recognize that physician recruiting is not the easiest job, we can each take steps to avoid workplace burnout. Focusing on the heroic service we provide, taking pride in accomplishing goals, and maintaining a positive morale are just a few ways we can feel a strong sense of personal accomplishment, and avoid burnout.

Liz Jazwiec is a renowned speaker, strategist and consultant who also has been a vice president of patient care, executive search professional, organizational development leader and emergency department director. Liz is the keynote speaker at the upcoming PracticeMatch Conference, April 7-10, in Charleston, SC. For more information about the PracticeMatch conference, contact Nancy Nigh at 314-485-6612 or


  • Krupa, C. (2012, 09 03). Nearly half of physicians struggle with burnout. Retrieved from
  • Jazwiec, L. (2009). Eat That Cookie. Gulf Breeze, FL, Fire Starter Publishing
Journal of ASPR - Winter 2013

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