Episode 1: Professional Burnout

Our debut features a discussion on burnout in the physical therapy profession. We attempt to de-stigmatize the word and get advice from smart people about how to deal with it.

Have you dealt with burnout? Let us know what has (or hasn’t) worked for you.

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1 Comment

  1. Great podcast! I can speak/relate to this topic as it is something that I am passionate about as you all mentioned that many PTs are. Here are a few comments I’d like to make:
    1.) It takes time to get into a rhythm. I felt more burnt out in my second year being a clinician than I do now as a practicing clinician for the last five years. I have not taken any significant time off and I have worked full-time since graduting for two companies now. I learned what it was that was burning me out and I tried to address the variables I could control, and speak up with my employer about the variables that were out of my control (productivity standards, schedule, pay, extraneous tasks, etc…). The more I addressed the variables I could control such as putting my health first, taking time for family and friends, leaving my work at work, things associated with work became less stressful and work became more enjoyable.
    2.) It’s OK to feel “burnt-out”. A lot of people are ashamed to admit it but it’s more common than one might think. I found that the more I discussed it with colleagues and co-workers, I didn’t feel on a distant island. Discussing it openly is the first leaf that needs to be turned in order to feel less burnt-out.
    3.) Taking a vacation is not the answer. Getting paid more is not the answer. Yes these two things are helpful, but they are temporary. If you have a leak in your plumbing, putting a bucket under the leak will help until the bucket fills up. That’s what a vacation does. It takes you away from work and stress temporarily, but when you return, you come back to the same situation you left. A raise is great, but doesn’t make work or stress any different. I agree that PTs have a terrible debt-to-income ratio as Wes mentioned in the podcast and it’s a troubling matter in our careers. We went to school for a very long time not only to obtain a career we were passionate about that gives back to society in such a positive way, but also a be able to make a decent living. PTs are all too often taken advantage of when it comes to pay and made to feel guilty when asking for more. However, to the point I was making, giving a PT more money does not make the stress or burn out any less.
    4.) Changing places of employment isn’t the fix either. The grass is always greener on the other side. You will find pros and cons in any job to take. Make sure you evaluate what you can change first before jumping ship. Also, be up front with your employer if you’re feeling burnt-out. Many times, employers will help. They can help change some of the variables that you felt you couldn’t change.
    5.) Finally, find a way to fill up your bucket every day, every week, every month. As a physical therapist, people will constantly complain to you. They will tell you all of their problems, sometimes more than you asked for. It is the expectation from many that we “fix” or “solve” these problems. We are equipped very well to aid in fixing and solving, but we’re still only human. The more and more people we see, the more it takes out of our bucket. If we end the day with an empty bucket and don’t have a way to refill it, we come to work the next day, week, month on empty. Find ways to fill up your bucket so you have something to give back. This looks different to everyone so make sure you find what works for you!

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