Burnout rates have reached ‘epidemic levels’

Experts are calling for an internationally coordinated research effort to identify evidence-based strategies to reverse the rising tide of burnout within the medical profession.

In a new editorial published in the BMJ this month, Jane Lemaire and Jean Wallace at the University of Calgary say the medical profession "must change its culture to tackle the toxic aspects of medicine that cause and sustain burnout”.

They propose several changes to help drive this transformation, including viewing doctors' wellbeing as central to patient care, and even as a missing quality indicator for all healthcare systems. “Improving the working lives of clinicians should be viewed as key to optimising health system performance alongside other established aims such as enhancing patient experience, improving population health, and reducing costs,” the authors said.

“Human resources are the most important asset of any organisation. As doctors continue to grapple with staying well, it is imperative that they have the support of their profession and their healthcare organisations to maximise their ability to care for themselves and their patients safely and effectively,” they conclude.

 

Lemaire, J.B. & Wallace, J.E. Burnout among doctors. BMJ. 2017;358:j3360 doi: 10.1136/bmj.j3360 

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