Career Longevity and Burnout

It is commonly repeated that physiotherapists who work for a significant period of time in private practice are at risk of burnout and workforce analysis and reports from the last 5 years paint a similar picture for physiotherapy as a whole.

A close look at intention to leave statistics are much higher for physiotherapists than other allied health professions:

  • In 2016, 75% of respondents intended to change roles within physio in the next 5 years and 27% of physiotherapists indicated they would leave the profession after 5 years
  • This is double the intended rate of attrition for speech pathology and 40% higher than sonography
  • The average age of physiotherapists intending to leave the profession within 12 months was 41 making it unlikely that this is a retirement decision.^

The further I get from my Uni days the more aware of the concept of “Burnout” I have become so much so I was driven to host Anastasia – a clinical psychologist to weigh in on this subject in the podcast below

A big thankyou to Anastasia Hronis for providing some important insight here on burnout prevention and self care for health professionals – including the importance of finding good mentoring, being mindful of self care and having a varied working week.

It is my own experience and the experience of others that I think work place variety is also key to maintaining a passion for physio. Travel is on the minds of many young health professionals and I have spoken with many about the possibility of combining this with work and professional development.

Some feedback taken from theses discussions amounts to:

  • Locums allow for health workers to travel and work at the same time
  • Working a mix of private practice, aged care, community, volunteer and hospital roles will help you stay engaged in your job 
  • Exploring different health care models and being aware of team culture in the workplace is important
  • Even working a job split e.g working a 4-day private practice / 1-day aged care work week can help with sustainability.

I have had many discussions with experienced and new graduate AHP’s who have locumed regularly around Australia and found it a great way to get clinical experience or “try before you buy” and also make a valuable contribution to a community at the same time. “Change is as good as a holiday” so they say and perhaps here it is also valuable to take some time to refresh and gain some perspective. This has been my experience to date…

Listen in to the below podcasts for a further exploration of these ideas…

And remember! Big things have small beginnings…



^ Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (2016). Physiotherapy – National Health Workforce data set – Victoria (2015)