Five Best Books for Preventing Doctor Burnout

Physicians are an integral part of our society and are often overworked and overstressed. The profession can show them the worst situations in life. Doctors deal with pain and suffering daily for the length of their careers. These factors combine to create what has been termed burnout. What are the top five books that physicians can use to combat burnout?

Finding which pieces of literature will be best for helping you break through your burnout can be a bigger job than you would expect. There is a large amount of information to choose from, which can be part of the problem. Don’t stress about it! Read on and learn the five best books or dealing with your burnout.

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1 – Stop Physician Burnout: What to Do When Working Harder Isn’t Working

Dr. Dike Drummond’s book is one of the best pieces of literature on physician burnout on the market. It was published in paperback in 2014 after a successful sales run that created The HappyMD is a website specialising in bringing doctors into your clinic or holding a class that teaches everyone how to fight burnout.

Creating a barrier against burnout starts in the office. Excess office work is one of the number one complaints from doctors who are suffering from burnout fatigue. Training the office to work as a team will allow the short fallings of the office, and the work that must be passed on to the doctor, to be considerably less than before the training.

Some areas of focus for the HappyMD book are:

  • Burnout Prevention
  • Stress Management
  • Quadruple Aim Leadership Training

Once the team has been acclimated to the book’s teachings, you will see an improvement in their production and stop stressful situations before becoming a problem for the whole practice. Take the time to put their processes into place and focus on your job before dipping into your regular office duties.

2 – Mayo Clinic Strategies to Reduce Burnout: 12 Actions to Create the Ideal Workspace

The Mayo Clinic is a world-renowned hospital known for cutting edge technologies and experiments that save people’s lives and improve their well-being. Their 12 Actions book is a great how-to for the office to work as a team and learn to work positively. Being around a positive workforce increases pride in the workplace.

The 12 Actions are designed with a patient-centered process that doesn’t just improve office work.

The relationships with the patients are the most important part of any practice. With a solid office workplan to reduce burnout in place, you can better serve the public, and doctors and nurses can concentrate on their jobs.

The biggest take away from the Mayo Clinic book is esprit de corps. It is a term usually reserved for military units and the heritage behind them. The Mayo book creates the office as a place to build a base of pride. This makes them want to work their best for their coworkers and not for just a paycheck. Once a sense of pride is established, they work for the love of the job.

3 – The Thriving Physician

Often burnout occurs no matter what you do in the office. Having a high-quality team that takes as much pressure off you as possible is a valuable asset, but the practice lives or dies by your actions at the end of the day.

Taking time to care for yourself is paramount to having success in life and business. Staying in shape also sets an example for your patients and coworkers.

Simonds and Sotile, both distinguished practicing doctors, write a book that is by doctors and for doctors. The stressful job is beautifully communicated in the novel, and it forms a pathway for you to kick the blues while during a busy part of the year or shrug off new business challenges like water off a duck’s back.

Some of the topics explored in The Thriving Physician are:

  • Coping Strategies
  • Probing Questions and Strategies
  • How to Lean on the Physician Community

The authors write a personable book that is chocked full of anecdotes and stories that show that doctors aren’t alone. They have shared experiences that resonate across the profession and that they might see as significant. In the end, The Thriving Physician is a great place to start rebuilding the psyche during a burnout.

4 – Preventing Physician Burnout: Curing the Chaos and Returning Joy to the Practice of Medicine

At the core of most burnout situations is being overworked. The pile of paperwork and a list of patients to be seen is never-ending. One of the biggest things to focus on is your love for the job. Loving the profession can be hard at times, but the end goal is to promote health, and you can’t do that if you don’t love it.

Paul DeChant and Dianne Shannon write the book and do an excellent job explaining how burnout works and the things that can make it happen. They also give a great section dedicated to giving voice to practices and organisations that work to curb the epidemic of burnout in offices across the country.

Some items covered in Preventing Physician Burnout are:

  • Strategies for Healthcare Providers
  • Identify Causes of Burnout
  • Actions for Combating Burnout

There isn’t a more specific and impactful book about burnout than this one. Reviewers say that implementing the procedures outlined in the book have improved their practice and made working enjoyable and easy to go to. The mountains of work can be stressful but keeping with these items can make it seem like a walk in the park.

5 – The Doctor is Burned Out: A Physician’s Guide to Recovery

The Doctor is Burned Out is a great book for the doctor who feels like they have lost control of their time and work. Often a feeling of being stuck or trapped can occur when dealing with burnout. The author, Dr. Moody, provides great ideas for the burned-out doc to get things back on track.

Dr. Moody is a practicing urologist who spends his downtime speaking with doctors and nurses about recovering from burnout. His book is a great place to start when researching strategies to keep your work from becoming too overwhelming. He has a concise and personal style that is refreshing in the sterile world of medical literature.

Some ideas that you can get from The Doctor is Burned Out are:

Dr. Moody’s book is a breath of fresh air and is packed with great strategies and plans to protect against and recover from burnout. Using the strategies inside will allow the doctor to get back to giving their best to the patients. Also, the office will provide extra support and become a more productive and workplace.

Tips to Prevent Doctor Burnout

Being a doctor can be challenging. There are complications with patients and insurance companies that take up precious time and place the practice in serious legal or financial predicaments. You can follow some tips to help you prevent doctor burnout or, at least in some cases, live with the effects.

Look for the Warning Signs of Burnout

One of the biggest things to prevent a bad case of burnout is looking for the things that will burn you out. It depends on the practice and the doctor, but there are a few common threads that will be sources of stress that can be eliminated or mitigated. Once the sources of stress are found, you can have a list of things to fight against.

The warning signs of physician burnout are:

  • Working too much – Hours spent working is the number one thing that doctors list for burnout. Being inside the practice too much can make you resent the outside world and working more hours every week could only make it worse. Set hours and stick to them as much as possible. This prevents overworking and gets you out of the office.
  • Too much office work – A doctor should spend the majority of their time working with patients and not bother with running down regular office tasks. While there is office work to be done by doctors, the work should only carry a small amount of their workload and not infringe their most essential duties.
  • Not enough patient hours – For most doctors, working with patients is the most fulfilling part of their job. If other parts of the practice begin to drain away this time, burnout is on the horizon. Keep a nice patient list going, and it could seem like you are not working at all.
  • Meeting patient requirements – There could be times that a patient is more demanding or has more physical requirements than others. If there are patients who require more time with the doctor, they can derail the rest of the practice. Prepare for these patients and have things ready beforehand to prevent any problems.

Participate in Regular Exercise Sessions

Nothing is better for relieving stress and kicking work blues like getting in some exercise. If you go for a run outside, it can improve your cardiovascular stamina, but it will also give you time to process things mentally. Events or problems in the practice can seem insignificant after a long run at the park.

The best exercises to participate in to relieve office stress are:

  • Take a yoga class – One of the most relaxing exercise activities you could partake in is a yoga session. It is designed to allow the body to move slowly and with a full range of motion. The breathing will enable you to clear your mind and concentrate on the moment. The added meditation is worth every grueling session.
  • Hike in a nearby park – Time spent away from the office is going to be valuable. Going for a hike in the park or the woods is an excellent way to spend those out of office hours. Nature allows you to see that your problems and the problems your practice may be having are not as bad as you thought and can always be repaired.
  • Attend a spin class – Sometimes, going all out and taxing yourself gives you clarity. A spin class will get your heart rate up and force you to focus on the task at hand. Focusing on the bike and the instructor will allow your mind to wander, and when it wanders, it often finds solutions you may have overlooked.

Take a Vacation with Your Family

One of the most productive things that a doctor can do is take some time off. The disorders and injuries that plague the profession are significant contributors to burnout.

Taking time away for a vacation with your family centers your mind on what is most important to you and will refocus your efforts back in the office.

When choosing a vacation, pick something that isn’t going to force you into large crowds or force you to be moving for most of the trip. Take your time and choose something that is relaxing but will provide ample time to think about the practice and get some perspective on what is happening for everyone involved.

Identify the Problems That are Out of Your Control

There are parts of the practice that are out of the doctor and staff’s control.

  • You can’t control everything. You should have an understanding of what you can and cannot control inside the office. Knowing these things gives you a way to prepare for them before they get out of hand. This preparation is a great way to identify what is going to happen in the future.
  • The doctor and each of the members of the staff should have assigned jobs. These assigned jobs will keep the extra paperwork and monetary concerns away from the doctor while they are you take on will keep you from seeing how high the walls are around you.
  • Listen to yourself. When your body begins to blare the warning signs of burnout, fatigue, or helplessness, you should take a step back and reassess the situation. If you find yourself dreading going to work, chances are you have become burnout and need a break.

Make burnout prevention part of your routine. Take time to think about yourself and how your feelings and emotions impact your work. For yourself, your staff, and your patients, you need to bring your best with you to work each and every day.

Online Tools to Combat Physician Burnout

Another great place to seek out ways to combat your burnout is the internet. There are websites and online seminars dedicated to helping doctors and their staffs to work with supreme efficiency. These tools’ primary focus should be on the doctor’s wellness and how their impact affects the whole practice. is a Great Resource for Doctors and Their Staff

TheHappyMD is one of the best sites about doctor burnout on the internet. The site is run by Dr. Dike Drummond, the author of Stop Physician Burnout, who has extended his seminar work to lessons outside the book. The site is dedicated to giving the doctors a platform for banishing their burnout and making their work fun and engaging once again.

The American College of Physicians Toolbox is Valuable for Doctors

One of the best tools a doctor can find to combat burnout is a page full of resources to help them rebound. The American College of Physicians has a toolbox full of links and resources that will allow doctors and their staff to get a leg up on burnout before making the workplace toxic. Pay special attention to the wealth of PDF’s available on the site.

YouTube is Home to Dozens of Videos on Doctor Burnout

Watching a few videos on reducing the effects of burnout is another great way to combat the effects. Having several different perspectives from working doctors and nurses will be a critical resource in your fight against burnout. Create a playlist with those that resonate with you to go back and watch during your next bout of burnout.

The AMA’s Practice Transformation Page is a Great Source for Doctor Burnout Information

The American Medical Association is always an excellent resource for doctors and their practices. The AMA spends millions of dollars every year researching doctor wellness and investigating problems that physicians encounter while they work. The AMA’s Transformation Page is an excellent resource for any office to get over their burnout issues.


Physician burnout is one of the burgeoning causes of dissatisfaction among doctors and their practices. Burnout is a loose term given to the feeling of being overwhelmed and worn down from being overworked. The amount of paperwork combined with insurance hoops that doctors must jump through can cause a prospering practice to falter.

Combat the effects of burnout by creating a work environment that creates esprit de corps, or a sense of pride in the place of business. The staff is important in the process, and they must do their jobs well to prevent serious setbacks. Be prepared to combat burnout with regular exercise and a streamlined work process.

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