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Physicians heal thyself first!

Physicians heal thyself first!

The physicians heal the sick people of society with dedication, who will heal the physicians? Professional burnout among physicians has reached a dangerous level, with more than half of physicians affected as per a study. Burnout rates, depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and satisfaction with work–life balance were among the measured characteristics. 46.9% of physicians had a high score for emotional exhaustion, 34.6% had a high score for depersonalization, and 16.3% had a low score for personal accomplishment. Just 40.9% of practitioners said their schedules left sufficient time for personal and family life.

“If a research study identified a system-based problem that potentially decreased patient safety for 50% of medical encounters, we should swiftly move to address the problem.”  They stress that interventions must address the drivers of burnout in the practice environment, such as inefficiencies, the administrative burden, and inflexibility, and should not focus exclusively on self-help solutions, such as physician self-care or resilience training. Society must move to give due respect, respite and security of various kinds to the toiling doctors, who have been reduced to punching bags.

Dr Shanafelt and colleagues note that although students begin medical school with superior mental health profiles relative to graduates entering other fields, 1 or 2 years’ medical study reverses this psychological situation, and once they begin to practice, “physicians have generally high degrees of satisfaction with their career choice but experience high degrees of burnout and dissatisfaction with work-life integration.” (Mayo Clin Proc. 2015;90:1600-1613)


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