Steps to Take Against Physician Burnout with Sue Padernacht, EdD, PCC

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In this segment of Lungcast, guest Sue Padernacht went further into the topic of mental health and burnout among clinicians, highlighting some ways to address the situation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, clinician and healthcare worker burnout became a reality acknowledged by many in the industry, given the heavy workload and seemingly impossible demands placed on many such individuals.

The January 2024 episode of Lungcast featured a discussion between host Al Rizzo, MD, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association (ALA) and HCPLive Editorial Advisory Board member, asked guest Sue Padernacht, EdD, PCC, about how the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated burnout in the healthcare industry.

Padernacht, the CEO and founder of Ncline Leadership Strategies and the ALA National Board Director, discussed some possible steps that the healthcare industry could recognize in order to help prevent clinician burnout from happening to such a degree again.

“If anybody's interested in Googling the US Surgeon General's 2022 report on healthcare industry burnout, Dr. Murthy does a really good job of encapsulating the entire ecosystem,” Padernacht said. “So it starts at the kind of societal cultural level and goes into the healthcare system. Then organizational implications, like systems and policies, and then leadership, the work units, and then at the individual level.”

Padernacht noted that the 2022 report began discussing unreasonably high workloads among physicians, adding that it can lead to shortages.

“Now, of course, if there's a shortage, what are you going to do?” Padernacht said. “There are a lot, so some of the creative options out there include using telemedicine when you can. Using nurse practitioners when you can. I believe that there are some states that are elevating their nurse practitioner licensing, to be able to take on some of the workload and some of the roles that physicians have taken on so as to kind of spread the work a little bit.”

Additionally, Padernacht acknowledged the underrepresentation of Black and other racial minority members of the community and in the physician talent pool.

“So by identifying talent in underrepresented communities, also Indigenous peoples as well, to be interested in this work can help to fortify the supply of physicians,” Padernacht explained. “You know, right now the majority are still Caucasian, with the next population being Asian, in the United States.”

To learn more about the ways the industry may address burnout and shortages, view the full discussion above.

Lungcast is a monthly respiratory health podcast series from the ALA produced by HCPLive.

Subscribe to Lungcast on Spotify here or listen to the latest episode below:

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