How to Manage High Stress as a Critical Care Pulmonologist

Male critical care pulmonologist with mask.

As a critical care pulmonologist, do you often feel overwhelmed by your many responsibilities? There’s no question that critical care pulmonologists are under a great deal of pressure when treating intensive care patients with complex lung and breathing disorders. This area of practice can often lead to high amounts of stress and burnout, especially when dealing with patients facing extremely challenging medical issues. Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce your stress levels at work and create a more balanced approach to your practice - and your life! Here’s how:

Take control of your schedule. The feeling of being out of control can quickly derail any sense of ease, resulting in high stress and tension when communicating with colleagues and even patients. It’s imperative to plan your daily routine in a way that allows you to perform all your responsibilities with the least amount of interruptions. For example, do you feel as though you cut short your face-to-face time with patients due to increasing paperwork and documentation demands? Blocking off time in your schedule to review patient information (such as bloodwork, X-Rays, CT scans, etc.) will help you allocate your time most effectively, so that patient care is never compromised. Another way to add more control to your schedule is to embrace locum tenens work, where you will be able to decide when and where you want to take assignments.

Collaborate with other providers when possible. With pulmonary care being complex and multifaceted by nature, it’s critical to work closely with your patients’ other medical care providers on the best treatment plans. Whether it’s primary care doctors, surgeons or other physicians involved in a patient’s care, taking an integrated approach will allow you to formulate the best diagnosis and treatment for each patient’s individualized needs. Typically, critical care pulmonologists collaborate with a wide range of medical professionals, including practitioners who specialize in thoracic surgery; oncology; radiology; rheumatology; lung transplant; and neurology – just to name a few.

Make time for yourself. The stress that comes from working in an intensive care unit can make it difficult to decompress and achieve a work-life balance. Regardless of how busy you may be, it’s essential to make time for yourself so you can mentally and physically recharge. This starts with being mindful of your health and knowing when to say “no” to commitments that will leave you feeling drained. After all, when you’re feeling your best, you’ll perform at your most optimal level!

Consider locum tenens work. Working on a locum tenens basis is a great solution for physicians who want to have more control over their schedules and the amount of time they work. By switching to locum tenens from full-time work, you can step back from spending day and night at work and instead choose which shifts to take- or not take. If burnout from being overworked is starting to take a toll on you, this is a great option that lets you take control and instill work-life balance once again. My maintaining your own schedule, you can make as much time for yourself, your family, and your other needs without the stress.

What are you waiting for? Taking the steps above will not only help to reduce your stress levels but improve the quality of care you deliver to patients!

Are you a burned-out physician in search of locum tenens opportunities?  

Contact MPLT Healthcare and get your locum tenens career started today!