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According to a national survey that included more than 7,000 doctors, job burnout strikes doctors more than it does other employed people in the United States.
According to Tait Shanafelt of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, of the 7,300 doctors tested, thirty-eight percent had high emotional exhaustion scores, which is akin to losing enthusiasm for their job.
Thirty percent had high depersonalization scores, which translates into viewing patients more like objects than human beings, and 46 percent had at least one of the two symptoms.
The aftermath of such burnout may be effect causes that lower quality of patient care dramatically.
“The study advances our knowledge by, for the first time, comparing to the general population and showing that physicians are at higher risk of burnout,” said James Wright, chief surgeon at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
“It’s very clear that when physicians are becoming burned-out it begins to affect their relationships with other healthcare workers and with patient families.”
According to Shanafelt’s findings, burnout was most common among doctors at the “frontline of care,” such as those working in emergency rooms or in family medicine.Dermatologists and preventive care specialists were less affected.
It’s not clear why burnout strikes so many doctors, Shanafelt said, noting that excessive workloads are only part of the problem.
“The high rate of burnout has consequences not only for the individual physicians, but also for the patients they are caring for,” said Shanafelt. “There is a sense that the volume of patients that need to be seen is increasing and it’s taking away some of the time needed to build a relationship and give the best care possible. That starts to build cynicism, I think.”