Beyond Burnout: A Physician Wellness Hierarchy Designed to Prioritize Interventions at the Systems Level

Burnout has been implicated in higher physician turnover, reduced patient satisfaction, and worsened safety, but understanding the degree of burnout in a given physician or team does not direct leaders to solutions. The model proposed integrates a long list of variables that may ameliorate burnout into a prioritized, easy-to-understand hierarchy. Modified from Maslow’s hierarchy, the model directs leaders to address physician’s basic physical and mental health needs first; patient and physician physical safety second; and then address higher order needs including respect from colleagues, patients, processes, and the Electronic Health Record; appreciation and connection; and finally, time and resources to heal patients and contribute to the greater good.

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