Thursday, September 15, 2011

Physician Burnout

Physician burnout is a well recognised problem, and may be associated with other undesirable factors including substance abuse, depression, physician suicide and poor patient outcomes. I am seeing the phenomenon of burnout more frequently, but my impression is that the response of the system is not just to ignore this but to continue to pile on more pressure.
A paper just published here reports some very disturbing findings.
Quality of life was rated “as bad as it can be” or “somewhat bad” by 2402 of 16 187 responding residents (14.8%). Overall burnout and high levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization were reported by 8343 of 16 192 (51.5%), 7394 of 16 154 (45.8%), and 4541 of 15 737 (28.9%) responding residents, respectively.
Interestingly, international medical graduates showed lower levels of distress. The fundamental problem in my view is that physicians refuse to recognize these problems in their colleagues and indeed see such problems as “weakness and failure”

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