The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on working women is severe in almost every way. This is especially true for medical colleagues such as doctors, nurses and other frontline staff. These are health professionals that research has found to suffer disproportionately high levels of stress, anxiety and depression when juggling work and home responsibilities in a dangerous and disruptive new environment. .
As we pause to celebrate September’s Women’s Health Month and celebrate the tremendous contributions of women in medicine and science across generations, we’re addressing what’s causing burnout among female doctors and other health professionals. It’s important to understand better. And just as importantly, what leaders in organized health care must do to bring work-life integration into the profession for all.
A growing body of research from across industries is revealing just how devastating the past two years or more of the pandemic has been for working women. JAMA network open A study published in July found that doctors who are also mothers were more likely to have greater parenting because the disruption, stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19 spilled over into their work environment and higher rates of professional burnout. Not surprisingly, a significant number of physicians (one in five physicians) plan to reduce their hours of practice or stop practicing altogether in the coming year. Burnout is one of the main reasons why people say yes.
Another study documenting physician burnout trends found that Mayo Clinic Minutes Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, female doctors were shown in March to be 27% more likely to burn out at work and 37% less likely to find a satisfying work-life balance than their male counterparts.
Surveys from various industries have revealed similar results for working women over the past two years. All of these results identify common factors that are familiar to everyone working in healthcare today. As more women enter and enter medical school than ever before, lack of paid leave, increased caregiving responsibilities, traditional gender roles, and other factors commonly cited in research.
In fact, a 2021 McKinsey study found that women in healthcare are twice as likely as men to cite increased parenting and household responsibilities as a factor in burnout and a reason for missing out on career advancement opportunities. increase.
Anyone who has tried to grow professionally while raising young children understands these challenges deeply. There are only so many hours in a day. And as a parent, every minute you spend in your professional field reduces hers by one minute of your family-focused time. Even if you have a loving and supportive spouse like me, the trade-offs can be painful.
The AMA recognizes this and is committed to helping build healthcare systems that better support female physicians through improved practice efficiencies, equal pay opportunities, and greater professional flexibility. With over 100,000 members, her AMA Women Physicians Section (AMA-WPS) is a forum for professional networking and mentoring opportunities to pave the way for female and aspiring physicians to become leaders in medicine. offers.
AMA-WPS also strongly advocates for policies and initiatives within the AMA House of Delegates that provide women with the resources and opportunities to advance professionally with minimal disruption at home. One such resolution, prepared by the AMA-WPS and presented to the House of Representatives at her 2022 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago, specifically addresses maternal discrimination in health care and calls for flexible Asked for broader support for family vacations.As JAMA network open According to the article, facilities that provide childcare opportunities to working women have been shown to significantly reduce the stress of childcare and increase job satisfaction.
While advocating for more flexible work, the AMA also creates a number of tools and resources such as STEPS Forward.® These toolkits are intended to help physicians improve teamwork and workflow efficiency, and free up more time for their personal lives.
Since half of our workdays are spent on EHRs and other desk jobs, the AMA’s online resources contain helpful guides to “mastering the EHR”, which continues endlessly on our plates. It helps keep down the seemingly administrative task. There is also a gender imbalance to consider here. Female physicians have been shown to spend more “pajama time” than male physicians, completing paperwork during off-duty evenings and weekends.Similarly, many other initiatives such as the Deimplementation Checklist (PDF), the Debunking Regulatory Myths initiative, the Joy in Medicine Health System Recognition Program, etc., Studies of EHR audit log data are also designed to reduce common pain points and change the care environment so physicians can spend more time with their families.
The STEPS Forward Academy also offers a number of engaging podcasts and webinars dedicated to these topics, making reducing professional burnout a central part of AMA recovery planning for American physicians. element. Talking about the challenges of the last two years, I cannot help but acknowledge the particularly heavy burden placed on my female colleagues in medicine. They deserve more than our respect this month. They deserve to do their best to improve the working environment that weighs on their shoulders.