Mental or Physical Burnout Can Jeopardize Your License

April 28, 2023
The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford

Most licensed professionals are very dedicated to providing the best possible service for their clients or patients. This requires hard work and long hours, in addition to the other demands of their profession such as continuing education and other licensing or certification requirements. It is not uncommon, therefore, for many professionals to reach a point of mental or physical exhaustion after years of dedicating themselves to their careers. Unfortunately, this burnout can lead to problems that can ultimately jeopardize their professional license. If you are worried about how burnout is impacting your practice, a professional license defense lawyer can walk you through the various potential issues. 

Professions That Commonly Experience Burnout

Healthcare professionals may experience the highest rates of burnout, especially doctors and nurses. Not only is their field mentally demanding, nursing or practicing medicine can be physically challenging. Doctors and nurses spend long hours on their feet tending to the needs of their patients. Many doctors, such as OBGYNs, are often working on little sleep. Patients are often extremely anxious and can be incredibly demanding. And many healthcare professionals are dealing with life-or-death situations, involving a level of stress that many of us simply cannot fathom. 

Burnout is common in other professions as well. Lawyers are often dealing with clients in crisis, struggling to meet deadlines, and handling high-stakes cases that can have a significant impact on their clients’ lives. Burnout is also common among mental health professionals

Regardless of what profession you are in, burnout is real and should be taken very seriously. If you are worried about the impact burnout may have on your practice, a professional license defense lawyer can help. 

How Burnout Can Affect Your Professional License

To put it simply, professionals experiencing burnout struggle to perform at the level their practices require. Unless some action is taken, burnout can lead to malpractice or other issues that can result in disciplinary action from your licensing board. Some examples of how burnout can impact your license: 

  • An attorney handling too many cases fails to make a critical filing within the deadline in a court case, thereby jeopardizing her client’s case
  • An overworked nurse administers the wrong medication
  • An exhausted surgeon causes damage to surrounding organs and tissues during surgery

Unfortunately, many professionals suffering from burnout begin to experience depression. They may begin drinking too much or abusing other substances. They become apathetic and lose interest in their career. In turn, they may begin making careless mistakes or take dangerous shortcuts. 

If you think you or a colleague may be suffering from burnout, it is critical to get help before things go too far. A professional license defense lawyer can help if you have already committed an ethical violation or other act that can lead to disciplinary proceedings. 

What to Do if You Are Experiencing Burnout

If you have lost interest in your career, are feeling overwhelmed, or are depressed, the best thing to do is speak with a professional counselor. A psychologist may be able to help you address the emotional or mental challenges of your job, while a career counselor may be able to help you refocus your career goals and find a better trajectory. In addition, here are some other actions that can help: 

  • Evaluate what elements of your career you enjoy and others you do not enjoy
  • Advocate for yourself to your employer – identify things that you need to excel in your career
  • See if there are administrative or other tasks that you can delegate or outsource so that you can better focus on the aspects of your career you truly enjoy
  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance – for example, prioritize things like daily exercise or dinner with your family
  • Focus on developing healthy relationships with friends, family members, and colleagues who can help or simply listen when you need it 
  • Do not hesitate to terminate relationships with patients or clients who are unnecessarily difficult or problematic

For professionals in a large practice who manage other professionals, you should be mindful of the signs of burnout. Make sure that your colleagues have the equipment or other resources they need and have a clean, well-organized workplace so that they can function as efficiently as possible. 

Contact a Professional License Defense Lawyer Today

While it’s always best to avoid burnout before it impacts your license, it’s never too late to seek help. Professional license defense lawyer J.W. Stafford and his team have deep experience in helping all types of licensed professionals protect their careers. If you are facing potential disciplinary action as a result of burnout, contact us today at 410-709-7338 to discuss your case and how we can help.