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Maintaining a work-life balance in the field of anesthesiology

March 24, 2023

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not an easy feat, particularly for anesthesiologists. Traditionally regarded as having some of the most restrictive hours of any profession, research shows doctors work over 51 hours per week (with nearly 23.5% working 61 to 80 hours weekly). Because of technology, physicians are now more accessible than ever, meaning their personal and professional lives can easily blur together. This increased job stress has led to higher levels of burnout among medical professionals, further underlining just how important it is to carve out time away from work.

Medicine doesn’t have to be a life-consuming career, and anesthesiologists, in particular, can take measures that ensure they achieve the perfect balance between fulfilling work demands and having enough time and energy left over for their personal lives.

As everyone has different goals, it’s essential to understand what “balance” means to you personally. Balance can also change throughout your career. Thankfully there are practical approaches available for creating this equilibrium – no matter how busy things get.


Time management and prioritization

Working fewer hours is one such way to feel more balance; according to statistics, 36% of those working 31 to 40 hours a week had symptoms of burnout compared with 50% for doctors working 61 to 70-hour weeks and 57% when over 71 hours are worked. But, sometimes, these hours can’t be altered in the medical profession. To achieve a healthy work-life balance, practical time management skills are essential. This includes setting achievable long and short-term goals for both home and work, organizing yourself in an optimal way to reach them, and avoiding any activities that could waste precious hours.


Do what makes you happy

Our individual values and priorities shape our well-being. With such busy lives, it’s easy to forget that taking time for yourself is essential. Doing so can help you recognize ways to find the right balance in life. Whether you choose a morning run or an evening dinner with friends, carving out space in your schedule to recharge will ensure you’re at the top of your game, both professionally and personally.


Think beyond salary

With extended hours leading to burnout, taking time to reflect on the balance between salary and fulfillment is essential. When life transitions occur – like after training completion or significant events such as marriage, childbirth, or death of family members – evaluate your choices in a job setting while considering what will make you most content professionally and personally. While a higher financial return may be attractive upfront, having an enjoyable day-to-day with control over your career should ultimately yield long-term fulfillment no matter how many hours worked each week.


Regularly reevaluate your goals

Providers often struggle to stay passionate and satisfied in their work, causing them to lose sight of the reason they got into medicine in the first place. To find meaning again, it’s vital to consider what is truly fulfilling. Taking an assessment of time investments versus returns may be beneficial when evaluating if a change should occur – such rethinking could even include exploring new job opportunities, shifting to a locum position, or moving somewhere entirely new. Reassessing your goals regarding location preferences and desired caseloads can help guide decisions toward meaningful success while balancing home and work.


Premier Anesthesia can help make balance a reality 

According to an American Medical Association survey, 92% of physicians under 35 believe that having flexibility in their lifestyle outside medicine is necessary. Finding the right work-life balance as an anesthesiologist is essential for caring for your patients and yourself. At Premier Anesthesia, we know it can be challenging to discover which environment fits your needs best – but luckily, there are options. We offer positions with varied workloads, case mixes, locations, and lifestyles, making sure every anesthesiology provider we work with benefits from life both inside and outside the hospital walls. Learn more.