Physicians seldom receive training on time management and/or self-care at any point in their career. As a result, many physicians have difficulty creating balance in their lives or incorporating self-care into their schedules. Persons who do not care for themselves are less effective at providing optimal care for others. Approximately 50% of physicians report burnout and the suicide rate among physicians is significantly higher than observed for the general population. In addition, burnout exposes physicians to the risk of medical errors and litigation. In recent decades, the role of physician fatigue in causing medical errors has led to the implementation of duty hours for physicians in training. There is now growing attention to the need for patient safety strategies to prevent and treat fatigue/burnout among practicing physicians.
Persons who recognize when they are becoming overextended and implement corrective strategies are less likely to end up completely burnt out than persons who do not make an effort to address their fatigue. The following series of four articles outlines recommendations for managing potential risks, fostering resilience, avoiding fatigue and addressing burnout.
Series Part One: Preventing Physician Burnout by Managing Potential Risks
Burnout is physical and/or emotional exhaustion due to an extended period of stress and/or frustration. Multiple factors put physicians at risk for burnout including their specialty/sub-specialty. For example, the risk of burnout is significantly higher for emergency medicine physicians compared to physicians who specialize in preventive medicine. Physicians who practice in specialties that are more prone to burnout may benefit from taking additional precautions to avoid burnout.
Go to part two.
Go to part three.