How Organizations Can Help Improve Physician Well-Being

Posted on March 22, 2019 by Sarah Prom, MA, LPC, ODCP

Updated August 3, 2023

Healthcare teamRecently, we published additional findings from our fifth Physician & Advanced Practitioner Well-Being Solutions Survey. Among the main takeaways: Stress and burnout among physicians are growing, a gender gap exists in how stressed physicians are, and some of the most valued well-being resources are the ones least available to them. This article recaps these findings in more detail.

As the survey reinforces, there is much that healthcare organizations can do to improve well-being for physicians and advanced practitioners.

1. Assess Well-Being and Organizational Barriers

In this step, perform a well-being audit—either on your own or with a consulting organization like VITAL WorkLife. This can help you identify levels of stress and burnout, contributing factors, resources available to promote well-being and possible solutions. After the assessment, share your findings with the organization.

2. Design Your Organization’s Well-Being Solution Strategy

The next step is to develop and implement a custom well-being strategy for your organization.

  • Prioritize the specific issues and concerns identified in the audit, as well as the ones noted in these survey findings.
  • Choose solutions you have a high degree of confidence in based on evidence of success in other organizations like yours.
  • Develop a short and long-term plan that anticipates future barriers, ensures access and opens communication throughout your organization.
  • Establish a Well-Being Committee to take ownership of the development and execution of these initiatives. This team should feature and embody as much gender, racial and other diversity as you have on your staff.
  • Develop well-being mentors. VITAL WorkLife has developed an Advocate Program for clients to help organizations identify internal champions to support their well-being strategy, act as a liaison between leadership and physicians on well-being initiatives and ensure the well-being program is successfully promoted and understood among physicians.

3. Clarify and Build Cultural and Leadership Attributes

Time and time again, workplace culture is cited as a primary contributor to stress and burnout and is also a reason for physician success and job satisfaction. Define the kind of culture you want for your organization, and then hire specifically to infuse your organization with the personalities, talents and other attributes you need to foster this culture.

4. Continue to Evaluate Well-Being

After your strategies have been developed and implemented, gather feedback and input from physicians and providers. Identify your quick wins and communicate them to the entire organization. You should assess where you can improve and prioritize those areas for future efforts.

5. Reassess, Set Goals and Communicate

Create a culture of continuous self-improvement. Identify leaders who can keep these topics alive and under discussion in meetings. Secure the buy-in of your executive team and other key leaders. Devote the time and resources it will take for your well-being committee to succeed.

We see this as an ongoing process, which reiterates to your physicians that you care about them and are dedicated to their well-being, as well as the overall health and vitality of your patients and the organization.

Did you miss our article, "Women are More Stressed Than Men"? In the article you'll uncover:

  • A discussion around the trends we saw in the data in relation to the stress levels of female and male physicians
  • Understand why there is a gender gap in physician stress levels
  • Other findings from the survey based on geography and demographics
Download Article

After reading the article, check out our Insight "How to Address the Growing Gender Gap In Physician Burnout" to learn actionable items organizations and leaders can do to help support female physicians.

CLICK HERE to read it now.

We Can Help

VITAL WorkLife has developed well-being solutions specifically for physicians and healthcare organizations, including Physician Well-Being Resources, organizational consulting and coaching and support. For more information on these solutions or anything else, visit or contact us.

Interested in learning more?

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