Burnout Hack: Now Read This!

August 1, 2022
Share this post
Illustration of person holding book in front of face and looking over top.

AMA survey reveals MD burnout hack

“My sense of purpose for going into medicine has been severed.”

That’s how Dr. Kenny Cole characterizes the emotional underpinnings of professional burnout many physicians feel.

Half of doctors are burned out. Chances are, you are, too. The AMA discusses two “biggies” that fuel the flames. And as you read on, you’ll discover the one common activity that reduced physician burnout by 59% and what three of your fellow Ochsner Health Network physician colleagues have to say about it.

Physician burnout can be characterized by emotional exhaustion and depersonalization.

Emotional exhaustion: refers to feelings of being emotionally overextended and drained by others.

Depersonalization: a distant or indifferent attitude towards work.

These dynamics rear their ugly heads in the forms of negative, callous, and cynical behaviors; or interacting with colleagues or patients in an impersonal manner. Furthermore, the AMA self-scoring quiz on physician burnout gets at 12 dynamics through their short, self-scoring survey tool:

  • Working constantly, spending little time and with friends or family
  • Problems in personal relationships, issues with co-workers, feeling underappreciated
  • Lacking compassion, patience, prone to overreaction or outbursts
  • Dreading going to work, lacking enthusiasm, negative talk about patients, co-workers and/or procedures
  • Losing confidence, self-esteem, sensing a lack of control over personal and professional issues
  • Chronic psychological, emotional or physical fatigue
  • Lacking concentration or attention
  • Increasing use of alcohol, drugs and decreasing health coping habits
  • Lacking engagement in healthy activities like exercise, outdoor fun, relaxation
  • Talking about giving up medicine, retiring early, or regret for choosing medical career
  • No interest in planning or taking vacations, time off or other outside activities
  • Losing interest in family, financial and/or retirement planning


A recent AMA survey found that physicians who reported reading books also reduced burnout by as much as 59%. Here’s what three of your physician colleagues Ochsner Health Network had to say about reading:

Dr. Chaillie Daniel on reading:

“We take ourselves too seriously, sometimes,” says Dr. Chaillie Daniel, primary care physician, father of six children ages 12-24, and grandfather of one baby girl. His current favorite book series, by G.K. Chesterton, is a play on humanity through theology. “Whether it’s flying or reading, the time-out allows me to get away from the world, almost like fantasy.” He also relies on the internet for reading anything and everything – whether it’s how to fix something or finding out whether Cinco de Mayo is really Independence Day for Mexico!

Dr. Wanda Robinson on reading:

When I do get time to read, I mostly choose the Bible,” comments Dr. Wanda Robinson, family physician in the Greater New Orleans area. In other parts of the country, Duke University recognized the power of confronting physician burnout through faith. They offer a CME course designed to help reconnect physicians with their calling to medicine through faith-based tools and teachings. No matter the spiritual roots, connecting one’s faith or belief system with their professional calling can breathe new life into the work mindset.

Dr. Kenny Cole on reading:

“Reconnecting with that deep sense of purpose and restoring the joy of practice is something I strive for every day. Reading, both for relaxation as well as self-improvement, are essential to that process,” reveals Dr Kenny Cole, infectious disease specialist and System VP of Clinical Improvement for Ochsner Health. Happily married and father of two children - ages 28 and 23— Cole takes time to read, among other pass times like cooking, spending time family, and connecting with friends. His favorites reads are The Engaged Caregiver, Dr. Tom Lee; Finding Joy in Medicine, Dr. Reza Manesh, and How Physicians Can Fix Healthcare, Chris Tremble.

Click below to take the quiz for yourself or a colleague whom you may be concerned about.

AMA self-scoring quiz on physician burnout

Share this post

Sign up for our newsletter

By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy and provide consent to receive updates from our company.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.