Many professionals are still dealing with the stress
and aftermath of the global pandemic. Optometrists, in particular, are becoming burned out more than ever. If you are an optometrist facing burnout, it can negatively impact your practice.
So, how can you prevent optometry burnout and its subsequent negative impact on your practice? Let’s dive into the details of burnout to help understand why it’s real and how you can prevent problems
in your practice.
Optometrists and corporate ODs are all burning out more than ever. Corporate ODs, in particular, feel constant pressure to deliver, which induces work stress. A vast majority are facing burnout, leading
them to resign from their jobs.
The global pandemic has further increased demand, pressure, and stress, because of the uncertainty surrounding the return to the office, work-from-home, and modern hybrid models.
Causes of Optometry Burnout
The restrictions and lockdowns from the pandemic added immense stress for optometrists, especially due to the reduction in patient visits. Once restrictions were lifted, a backlog also put a lot of pressure
Most notably, as these patients returned, optometrists started seeing a decline in the conditions of many patients over the last two years, making their job tougher than usual.
New optometry graduates and ODs learned about the long work schedule of running their practice.
Since most patients work from “9 to 5”, they are always looking to schedule appointments on weekends, early in the mornings, or late in the evenings.
These time slots get filled most frequently and rapidly, meaning longer working hours for optometry professionals.
The administrative burden of running an optometry practice is often overlooked or underestimated by new optometry graduates and professionals alike. Furthermore, graduating optometrists are highly
trained to work on patients but rarely given the business knowledge or tools they need to run a practice.
Most professionals often outsource administrative tasks or hire people to administer their practice. However, between the massive burden of student loan debt, the costs of running a practice, sourcing
and maintaining equipment, employing assistants, and more, there is little left to hire the administrative help they need.
It is particularly difficult to hire extra people at the start of a career, which is another reason for new graduates experiencing more stress and optometry burnout.
Patient complaints can be another major stress trigger and burnout factor for most optometrists. Some patients do not take good care of their eye health and vision problems and may often blame their
Other times, impolite patients may get offended by an inconvenient appointment, tough schedules, or delay and voice their concerns rather rudely. Such incidents can result in a poor experience for the
patient and everyone involved, including the OD and their team.
Ultimately, poor patient experience significantly reduces your optometry practice’s morale in various
What Can You Do About it?
Fatigue, morale slump, and burnout all result in the same thing, stress. Ironically, stress is what fuels fatigue and optometry burnout in the first place. It acts like cancer for any professional in a high-
demand, high-volume specialist position.
It takes a major toll on your personal and professional life, so finding ways to address and overcome it is important.
While there are plenty of ways to go about reducing stress, here are some of the key ones that work particularly well, especially for optometry burnout:
You must maintain a good, consistent sleeping schedule and eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Remove all the clutter in your home and office, and get organized because clutter adds the stress of working out where existing things are and where new things should go.
3. Find Work-Life Balance
Being an optometrist or corporate OD, you may think that there is no time for anything else in your life.
However, you can find a good work-life balance with basic time management. Work hard during a scheduled time; once your work hours are over, don’t stress about work.
Take time to live your life, spend time with loved ones, and do the things you love. You don’t have to do it every day, but making time in your weekly schedule for the things that make you happy is essential.
4. Boost Morale
Morale is key to maintaining good communication at your practice, especially if you have a quick turnover of employees. Support your team in any way you can, as it impacts the quality of services and
cares your practice delivers, which is key to improving patient experiences.
It also helps retain top talent and expand your optometry practice. Figure out ways to improve communication and make your team more efficient. These steps can help boost morale and reduce optometry burnout at your practice.