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Study: burnout increasing among American doctors

Sometimes, a person gets burned out as a result of the stresses and difficulties of their job. Recent research indicates that burnout is particularly common among doctors.

The study found that the burnout likelihood of physicians is about double that of the average worker here in America. 

The study also indicates that burnout is on the rise among physicians. In the study, the results of a physician survey from 2011 were compared with the results of a 2014 survey. In the 2011 survey, a little less than half of the physician respondents, 46 percent, said they had experienced at least one burnout symptom. In the 2014 survey, the percentage had risen above the 50 percent mark, with around 54 percent of physician respondents reporting experiencing burnout.

Some types of doctors have an especially high burnout likelihood. According to the study, doctors in the following specialties showed particularly high burnout rates: radiology, rehabilitation, urology, family medicine and emergency medicine.

One of the reasons the high prevalence of burnout among physicians is an alarming trend is that physician burnout has the potential to negatively impact patients. When doctors are burned out, they might be less engaged in their work. This could result in doctors not providing as good of care to their patients as they normally would and make doctors more likely to make errors, which could significantly compromise patient well-being and safety. Research has linked increased doctor burnout to lower care quality in healthcare systems. One wonders how many patients have ended up suffering harm as a result of the high prevalence of doctor burnout.

One hopes that hospitals and health care systems will do everything they can to protect patient safety, including taking steps to help decrease the likelihood of burnout among their doctors.

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