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  • Writer's picturePhysicians Financial Design

Physician Burnout is Real!

Physician Burnout on the Rise

At Physicians Financial Design, our goal is to help instill peace of mind for physicians when it comes to their finances. However, peace of mind is not something that physicians seem to find easily. With radical amounts of student debt, crazy hours, sophisticated employment contracts, and many other stressful components of a physician’s life, it’s no wonder that they suffer from burnout more than the average worker. Not to mention if you own and/or run your own practice! That’s why the first sentence of our mission statement reads like this: “We strive to reduce physician burnout by alleviating the burdens caused by the unique and complex financial situations that doctors often face.”


Physician burnout has been a significant issue in the United States healthcare system for many years, and it has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2021 report by Medscape, which surveyed over 12,000 physicians across 29 specialties, the overall burnout rate among US physicians was 42%, up from 40% in 2020.

The report also found that certain specialties had particularly high rates of burnout, including critical care (51%), neurology (50%), and family medicine (49%). Contributing factors to physician burnout included increased workload, bureaucratic tasks, lack of respect from administrators or colleagues, and inadequate compensation.

It is worth noting that the issue of physician burnout is complex and multifaceted, and there are ongoing efforts by healthcare organizations and policymakers to address this issue and improve the well-being of physicians. I believe it is crucial to address physician burnout and take steps to improve physician well-being.

How Financial Stress Leads to Burnout

Financial stress can be a significant contributing factor to physician burnout. Besides their often-substantial student loan debt, physicians may also face other financial pressures, such as high malpractice insurance premiums, declining reimbursement rates, and increasing practice expenses. These financial stressors can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious, and downright hopeless, which can contribute to burnout and overall poor mental health.

In addition, physicians may feel pressure to work long hours and take on additional patient loads to maintain their income or pay off debt, which can lead to work-life imbalance and exhaustion. They may also feel pressure to meet productivity targets, which can lead to a focus on quantity over quality of care, further increasing stress and burnout.

Financial stress can also impact physicians' ability to practice medicine in a way that aligns with their values and goals. For example, if a physician feels forced to work in a high-volume, low-quality care environment to maintain income, they may experience a conflict between their desire to provide quality care and the pressure to meet financial goals, which can lead to moral distress and burnout.

Overall, financial stress can be a significant source of pressure for physicians, and addressing financial stress and providing resources to support financial well-being can be an essential component of efforts to prevent and treat physician burnout.

What You Can Do About It

As a physician, there are several things you can do to help alleviate financial stress:

  1. Create a budget: Start by creating a budget that includes all of your monthly expenses, such as student loan payments, mortgage/rent, utilities, and other bills. Once you have a clear picture of your expenses, you can develop a plan to manage them more effectively.

  2. Seek financial advice: Consider seeking the advice of a financial planner who can help you develop a plan to pay down debt, save for retirement, and manage your finances more effectively.

  3. Look into loan repayment programs: If you have student loan debt, you may be eligible for loan repayment programs that can help you reduce your monthly payments or even have your loans forgiven. Look into federal or state loan repayment programs, as well as loan forgiveness programs for physicians who work in underserved areas.

  4. Negotiate with creditors: If you are struggling to make your monthly payments, consider contacting your creditors to negotiate a lower interest rate or a payment plan that is more manageable.

  5. Find ways to increase income: Consider taking on additional shifts or consulting work to increase your income. You may also be able to find ways to generate passive income, such as investing in real estate or starting a side business.

  6. Take advantage of tax benefits: As a physician, there are several tax benefits available to you, such as deductions for student loan interest and contributions to retirement accounts. Make sure you are taking advantage of these benefits to reduce your tax burden and save more money.

Overall, managing financial stress requires a proactive approach to managing your finances and seeking out resources that can help you achieve your financial goals. By taking steps to improve your financial well-being, you can reduce stress and create a more fulfilling and satisfying career as a physician.

An easy first step would be to click on the big yellow button below to book your free financial evaluation. We’ll help you strategize ways to eliminate your debt and create a bright (and peaceful) future. It is a free conversation with no strings or fine print to be found.

Thanks for reading! For more articles geared toward young physicians and their money, click here or check out The Money Malpractice Podcast on any of the major platforms.



• RichMark Private Wealth Management. LLC is registered as an investment adviser with the State of Michigan, and only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from such requirements.

• Content should not be viewed at personalized investment advice. Market events and other factors may affect the reliability of the potential outcomes. Simulated growth is purely hypothetical and does not represent actual performance.

• Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment or strategy will be suitable or profitable for a client's portfolio.

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