Dr. Mamta Gautam will lead a session on the topic as part of a three-day academy on physician burnout at the AAPL Winter Institute in Florida.
Although physician burnout recognizes no gender boundaries, some experts say its symptoms and severity typically affect men and women inequitably.
“Burnout in medicine is an epidemic hiding in plain sight,” explains Mamta Gautam, MD, MBA, FRCP(C), CCPE, CPE, who will lead a session on women’s wellness during the American Association for Physician Leadership’s Winter Institute, Jan. 24-27 at St. Petersburg, Florida.
Her session, “Women in Medicine: Enhancing Your Personal Resilience as a Leader,” will culminate a three-day course on physician burnout, as a highlight of the overall institute.
“Over half of practicing physicians have symptoms of burnout,” says Gautam, president and CEO of Peak MD, a company that specializes in leadership resilience. “And for women physicians, this is an especially critical issue, as they are known to have twice the level of burnout of their male colleagues.”
Gautam was the facilitator of a collaboration with male colleagues that created policies to support and recognize women leaders in the medical workplace. She says burnout’s toll on women physicians “is partly due to workplace factors that include different practice patterns and communication styles that take more time with patients, attract more patients with complex psychosocial issues, and are more emotionally draining, yet less remunerated.”
According to the 2004 Physician Worklife Study, women in internal medicine subspecialties felt they needed 36 percent more time for a new-patient examinations and consultations, compared with 21 percent more time for men. Likewise, women wanted 24 percent more time for routine follow-up patients, compared to 9 percent for men.
“As well,” she says, “even when they work outside the home, women often carry the burden of the housekeeping and child care responsibilities, too. Something has to give; this is not sustainable.”
The objective of her wellness workshop is to help women physicians understand when they are at risk for burnout, gain practical prevention strategies, and ensure leadership success while continuing or resuming the joy in medicine.
Personal assessments will help identify gaps that require attention and provide clarity regarding next steps for wellness.
The first two days of the wellness academy include intensive workshops facilitated by Dan Friedland, MD, and Dan Diamond, MD, who will address the threats that stress and burnout pose to high-performance leadership — and, in a culture of increasing disengagement, equip leaders with skills to increase their team’s investment and ownership while teaching them to solve problems under pressure.
Course objectives include recognizing key predictors of burnout and resiliency, understanding the neuroscience of low- and high-performance leadership, and using target fixation to build stronger teams.