Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP
Burnout is a huge issue in physical and occupational therapy. When physical therapists hear the term burnout, physical therapists know exactly what it means. When occupational therapists hear the term burnout, occupational therapists know exactly what it means. That is why Psychology for the Body offers online continuing education for occupational therapists and physical therapists, to address burnout and many other psychology-focused topics.
Clinicians are abandoning the profession due to increased productivity demands
and decreasing compensation. According to a Physical Therapy Journal article
from 2019, the debt-to-income ratio in PT is one of the worst in the whole
medical field. The average salary for a PT in the US in 2019 was $69,000 and
the average debt was $120,000. Also, the trajectory of salaries was either flat
or decreasing. There are many other causes of burnout for physical therapists
and occupational therapists which I discuss in the CEU webinar Preventing
Burnout in Rehab: For Administrators and Clinicians. The course is approved for
CEUs by the NJ Board of PT, Ohio Physical Therapy Association, and the NY Board
of PT. It is also qualified as AOTA-approved online continuing education for
What is mind-boggling to me is that many healthcare organizations don’t invest in burnout reduction techniques. Many healthcare companies don’t like to lose money short-term for long-term gains. However, it doesn’t make much sense financially. As a healthcare company, you hire clinicians and invest a lot of money to onboard and train them. It would seem to be logical to protect your investment by addressing burnout and preventing employees from leaving your organization. A simple solution would be to hire a burnout coach that could work one on one with employees to help reduce their burnout.
A burnout coach could help prevent burnout for rehab clinicians using various methods. For instance, rehab clinicians experience emotional drain due to emotional dissonance and compassion fatigue. Ventilation is one way to release that emotional stress. A burnout coach can be a sounding board for clinicians’ frustrations. Another helpful technique would be CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This strategy assists clients in seeing how a situation can be viewed in multiple ways. A great example would be if your boss assigned you a difficult patient. A clinician might perceive that as a slight and that their boss hates them. Another perspective is that the boss respects the client and that is why they assigned them the difficult patient. A burnout coach could help a client see that less aggressive perspective. Let’s change the narrative so that when physical therapists hear the term burnout, physical therapists laugh. You can also change the narrative that when occupational therapists hear the term burnout, occupational therapists smile and think, not me.
Burnout Coaching for Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists
Coaching is not the only option to reduce burnout in your healthcare organization.
Sponsor a burnout seminar for your company. Preventing Burnout in Rehab: For
Administrators and Clinicians is a great way to teach both managers and clinicians
how to address burnout. It is also approved for live or online continuing
education for occupational therapists and physical therapists by many different
Even if your organization won’t sponsor coaching, individual clinicians should also consider burnout coaching. You have invested so much time and energy into your professions, before you leave and get another job, try out a coaching session with an experienced burnout coach. Think about all the schooling and energy you have put in thus far. Maybe your burnout is not irreversible and you just need insight and techniques to reduce burnout from a burnout coach. The first step would be to set up a free coaching session. If you are interested let’s talk: https://calendly.com/psychologyforthebody/office-hours.