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FACP. Colegio de médicos de Tarragona Nº 4305520 / fgcapriles@gmail.com




Sunday, July 24, 2016

EM docs & burnout

Emergency Physicians Monthly
EP Monthly - July 19, 2016 - By Manfredi R, Hughes D and Jois P
"According to a JAMA Internal Medicine study, emergency physicians are the most burned out specialty in medicine – over 65% of EP respondents reported burnout. But what exactly is burnout, really? And what can emergency physicians do about it?
Burnout is an ancient concept which can be traced back to our oldest stories. William Shakespeare used the phrase “to burn out” in his 16th century poetry to speak of love that has peaked and faded. A more modern definition is “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration”. For emergency physicians, burnout is an insidious process that can take a doctor down from having an optimistic and idealistic outlook to dreading going to work each day.
Like Justice Stewart, we may ‘know burnout when we see it,’ but often we do not recognize it in ourselves. Many of us have experienced a stressful shift in the ED that is remedied by a vigorous physical workout or a good night’s sleep. We are able to bounce back. The recognition of burnout begins when we realize we are not bouncing back. This lack of resilience prevents us from “re-charging our batteries” and sets the stage for burnout. Picture a spectrum where the lack of resilience at one end leads to burnout at the other.
An emergency physician may find that he or she is far along the path to burnout before taking any steps to remedy it. Some subtle warning signs and symptoms of burnout include affirmative answers to the following:
  • Are you fatigued even with adequate sleep?
  • Do you find that you are more irritable and less satisfied with work?
  • Have you noticed that you seem to have numerous minor physical ailments?
  • Are you sad, more forgetful, or do you find that you are having trouble concentrating?"