Battle Burnout at your Rheumatology Practice

Let’s face it, working in the medical field is tough. Working in a specialty field such as rheumatology can be even harder. The mental, emotional and physical demands can take a toll on you and your staff. When dealing with patients it is essential your staff remains mentally and physically healthy throughout these daily challenges. Below are four ways to battle burnout at your rheumatology practice.

Be self-aware

When it comes to burnout, knowledge is power. Learn the symptoms of burnout and know yourself well enough to recognize if you are at risk. According to Dike Drummond MD, three major symptoms of burnout are exhaustion, cynicism and doubt. While each of these things can happen on any typical day at the office, there is a difference between having a bad day and being on the verge of burnout. If you or someone at your practice are consistently exhibiting these symptoms, it may be time to start working on a cure.


Build up defenses against burnout by prioritizing your responsibilities. Multi-tasking is essential in any rheumatology practice, but it is easy to let your endless obligations overwhelm you and contribute to burnout. Attempt to manage and prioritize your tasks on an hourly, weekly and monthly basis. Tackle the responsibilities that are most important first, when your energy levels and focus are at their highest. Ensure your entire team is following this process as well.


To be successful it is essential to have a strong support system surrounding you. If you have helpful and supportive people in your life, be sure to utilize them! Be willing to ask for help and confide in the people who champion you the most. Your co-workers are the people you are around the most throughout the day, so this should be one of your largest support systems. If this doesn’t seem to be the case at your rheumatology practice, start organizing some team bonding days to help build those relationships.

Exercise and diet

Living a healthy lifestyle is important for many reasons, but it is extremely helpful when battling burnout. A healthy diet and active lifestyle is good for energy levels, combating weight gain, hormone balance and enhancing sleep. A clean diet and consistent movement can help improve your mental and physical health, not only keeping you healthier but helping you stay engaged and invested at work. Set a good example for your staff by making healthy lifestyle choices. One idea is to consider inspiring them with a weight loss challenge in the office.

While working in the medical field can be rewarding, it is highly demanding. If you or your staff members are showing signs of burnout, it’s time to implement some changes. Start by following these tips and focus on healing. After all, you cannot treat others if you do not take care of yourself and your practice first!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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