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    Burnout: How can it be prevented?

     

    What do you think a young aspiring urologist can do to mitigate the risks of burnout?

    You can recover from burnout, but the best strategy is prevention. Actively nurturing personal interests and well-being can help prevent burnout. It helps if you do it early on and if promotion of wellness is openly supported by leadership within a hospital or department or group practice.

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    I think a younger individual should try to find what their 20% time is. What is a meaningful activity for them? Younger faculty are so intelligent, driven, motivated, and ready to work hard, and one of my goals in meeting with them is to make sure that they’re finding that 20% time, so that practicing medicine doesn’t become a hamster wheel, where 5 years later they wonder, what have I been doing? Again, they’re very smart, driven people and they deserve to be happy and fulfilled in their lives. People need to be aware early on of life outside of work and prioritize that with time with family, with other interests, with exercise.

    Maybe some of this could end up being generational too, although some data suggest that younger workers tend to have more burnout. But, we showed some information indicating that burnout peaks in the 40s and 50s. Perhaps the younger generation are ahead of us in that they’ve already walked into this with a sense of proper work/life balance, which the previous generation may have looked on negatively.

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    Stephen Y. Nakada, MD
    Stephen Y. Nakada, MD, a Urology Times editorial consultant, is professor and chairman of urology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

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