Last June 2014, Drs. Raja & Stein published a study in the US National Library of Medicine entitled Work-Life Balance: History, Costs, and Budgeting for Balance. The paper discusses a timeless predicament in the healthcare industry — how important is work-life balance in the practice?
Unlike other professions and vocations, doctors are at a difficult position because of work-related responsibilities. Despite the laws establishing a 44-hour work week, doctors are exempt from these labor standards and are deemed to be always on call. Beyond the decades’ worth of study and learning, doctors are obligated to spend days attending to a steady stream of patients.
This has a placed a heavy burden on doctors who no longer have time for themselves or their own families. The primary goal of a work-life balance is to stave off physician burnout and maintain mental and physical health.
At the rate we are overworking our doctors, there is a higher tendency for physician burnout as well as physical and mental ailments. Depression, substance abuse, and suicide rates have increased over the years even among students of medicine. These are positively correlated with family size, number of hours worked, compensation, and other similar factors. Doctors are constantly staying up late, not eating enough or at all, and have no time for any preventive healthcare routines.