HOUSTON – The Harris County Medical Society is concerned the coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on the well-being of doctors causing physician burnout.
“We have to deal with it because they also help people and they need to be in the best shape possible to help people who are sick,” said Dr. Ronald Walters, the medical society’s president.
He highlighted the issue in the November edition of the Physician Newsletter.
“The uncertainty, the increased hours, loss of financial stability and personal risks we are experiencing this year have increased burnout,” Walters wrote.
That’s in addition to witnessing patients and their families deal with the virus.
“It is this feeling of loss of purpose. It’s this feeling of incapacitation. It’s this feeling of doubt as to when things are going to get better,” Walters said.
While the issue of physician burnout is not new, Walters said another wave of COVID-19 cases could make it worse.
“Each peak probably is followed by a different level of frustration and despair,” he said.
Doctors outside of hospitals are feeling stressed too, including those who run their own practices and saw fewer patients during the lockdown, which is impacting the bottom line, Walters said.
If the stress of the job becomes too much, his message is simple: “If you think you might need help, please call.”
The physician wellness program is available at 713-524-4267.
The organization is also surveying its members about this issue and hopes to wrap that up by December.