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The 3 Causes Of Physician Burnout (And Why There’s No Simple Solution)

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The 3 Causes Of Physician Burnout (And Why There’s No Simple Solution)

September 10, 2019

The 3 Causes Of Physician Burnout (And Why There’s No Simple Solution)

Burnout is a big and burgeoning problem in the United States. According to a recent Mayo Clinic report, it affects 28% of the general working population. Among physicians, however, the rate is markedly higher, ranging from 44% to 54% in most studies. 

More concerning are the consequences: Doctors who report burnout symptoms are twice as likely to commit a medical error. They’re also twice as likely as their patients to commit suicide

Though the physician “burnout crisis” has left many in the profession battered, bruised and pleading for help, there has been little noticeable improvement in recent years. To understand this strange division—between the urgency of the problem and the lack of effective solutions—I’ve surveyed patients and fellow physicians, scoured the latest researchnews coverage and social media commentary

Most often, doctors look at burnout as a problem with a single etiology (cause). Instead, burnout has three distinct causes:  

  1. The healthcare system 
  2. Moral injury 
  3. Medical culture 

The majority of physicians who believe burnout is tied to just one cause (particularly to a broken healthcare system) also believe that the solutions are beyond their control. In reality, each of these causes requires attention and action from doctors. Until that happens, the troublesome symptoms of physician burnout will only intensify. 

The full Forbes article can be viewed at this link.  

 

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