Physician burnout results in medical errors, low quality of care, and increased costs for organizations.1 The impact on the physician and the healthcare entity is substantial. Of the primary stressors in life—family, work, politics, and personal finance—personal finances have been rated as the number one source of stress. Those with high financial stress are twice as likely to have poorer health overall. It’s imperative that the healthcare community partner together to support their physicians to resolve this crisis. Don’t leave your individual physicians unsupported as they fight the effects of burnout. You can take steps to combat burnout on your team today by focusing on what you can control: providing financial wellness education.
Having financial stress in your life can affect decision making. Studies have shown that financial difficulty can be an added cognitive burden and reduce performance on cognitive tasks.
On average, it takes 10 to 14 years to become a fully licensed and trained physician. During that time, very little—if any—is taught about personal finance. Physicians then become attending physicians with the ability to earn significant income, but often have a tremendous amount of debt. In addition, the intensity with which physicians tend to work leaves little time or energy to focus on making sound financial decisions. Physicians often make decisions based on lifestyle choices that are crafted on the fly, with little to no consideration for how the consequences will impact their long-term finances.
It’s often assumed that since physicians earn above-average salaries, financial stress is not common. In our experience, this isn’t the case. Higher earnings alone don’t reduce financial stress. There is a difference between “objective” and “subjective” income. Objective income is the amount earned, e.g., $200,000 or $500,000 per year. Subjective income is the interpretation of that value through current circumstances. It is possible for two people with the same objective income to have different perceptions of financial well-being. Goals, desires, and standards of living can lead to a difference in the perception of wealth and differing stress levels. It’s crucial for a physician family to clearly understand their financial health and financial goals and have a wealth management plan in place to help keep future financial and career-related goals on course.
Learning how to manage their finances and having a wealth management plan help physicians enjoy practicing medicine and caring for their patients. This financial wellness can help reduce their stress and increase happiness, which can help fight burnout and positively impact patient care. Providing financial wellness and wealth management services to your organization’s physicians and leaders can significantly improve their lives and your organization’s health. To learn more about how FORVIS Private Client can help improve your organization’s operational health through consultations with your physicians, please reach out to a professional at FORVIS or submit the Contact Us form below.
Carrie R. Leana & Jirs Meuris (2015) Living to Work and Working to Live: Income as a Driver of Organizational Behavior, The Academy of Management Annals, 9:1, 55-95, DOI: 10.1080/19416520.2015.1007654
Anandi Mani, Sendhil Mullainathan, Eldar Shafir and Jiaying Zhao (2013) Poverty Impedes Cognitive Function, Science 341 (6149), 976-980. [doi: 10.1126/science.1238041]