Workplace Blog

How to Know if Your Work Environment is Toxic


Are you in a healthy work environment? Though important, this question often gets overlooked by recently hired physicians or by physicians who have worked in a hospital for many years and may feel uncomfortable with the idea of leaving. But with physician burnout on the rise, it has become increasingly important to prioritize physician well-being and job satisfaction. The hierarchy of leadership, treatment of co-workers, administrative tasks, and other elements of a work environment influence how a physician feels about their job on top of the clinical work they already do.

A toxic work environment can take a significant toll on a physician’s mental health, making it more difficult to find fulfillment in his or her medical career. A sign that a physician may be in a toxic environment is if the people in authority are narcissistic. A boss that thinks they can do no wrong and demands near-perfection from their employees often results in an unhealthy, competitive culture within the hospital. These kinds of leaders hate being disagreed with or criticized, which can make it difficult to have open, honest communication about necessary improvements at work.

Another sign of a toxic work environment is a lack of any form of code of conduct that binds physicians to a standard of behavior with one another. While it may seem obvious that you should always treat one another with respect and kindness, sometimes a lack of standards permits doctors to defaulting to competitive, cutthroat behavior. If no one in the workplace is willing to show a sign of weakness or ask for any help, you may not be in the best environment.

A lack of transparency is also a red flag. When there’s little communication among employees and with authorities, it can make work confusing and unpredictable. Everyone should be on the same page about what the objectives are and how they should work together to meet those objectives. Physicians should also feel comfortable approaching their supervisors or bosses to discuss their career goals. If there isn’t that level of comfort and transparency, it can leave physicians stunted in their careers, with slim chance of advancing or accomplishing their goals.

This may be obvious, but rampant physician burnout in the workplace is a definite sign that the workplace is not a healthy one. If fellow physicians are often overworked, deflated, emotionally detached, or depressed, that should be a signal to seek employment elsewhere if at all possible. There are many hospitals and practices that now implement mandatory well-being programs for staff in order to prevent physician burnout.

The best way to avoid a toxic workplace is to make sure you don’t sign a contract with one to begin with. We understand that it is sometimes unclear if a workplace is toxic until you spend time working there. If that is your current story, you should feel empowered to seek a position elsewhere that will be a better fit for you mentally and emotionally. 

At Resolve, we are dedicated to empowering physicians in their career choices. With a job search database of thousands of positions, we are able to find jobs tailored to your specific needs that will give you the treatment you deserve. Our professional team of attorneys can decipher hidden implications in employment contracts and negotiate on behalf of the physician before accepting the position. Consider using our services whether you are just beginning the physician job search or leaving your current job to find another.