Physicians deal with significant strain all or much of the time from taking care of many sick and injured patients. It’s not an exaggeration to say that patients’ health outcomes can hinge on their doctors’ decisions.
The responsibility that physicians have is immense. The demands on them are non-stop. Most of their workdays tend to be long and crammed. The pace could wear anyone down after a while. There is virtually no room in the medical profession for errors, either.
In addition to that, medical professionals have to be able to “connect” with their patients to some degree. Nevertheless, they cannot get so emotionally involved that they internalize it if someone in their care fares poorly despite a physician’s best efforts. It’s a delicate balance that is challenging to maintain.
Factors that contribute to physician burnout
Several elements can play a role in physician burnout:
- Not enough control over scheduling
- Hectic work atmosphere
- Insufficient time available to spend with patients
Does physician burnout pose a risk to patients?
The pressure, combined with mental and physical weariness that some physicians experience, can be understandably difficult to handle. It may lead to what is known as physician burnout, which has been described as “a long-term stress reaction.”
That can cause problems with doctors’ ability to successfully recollect information, multi-task and concentrate. Having trouble performing basic and important actions like those might have a potentially negative effect on patient care.
What if you think your physician is suffering from burnout?
Your doctor may seem inattentive, may not recall things you told them or be excessively rushed or preoccupied. It’s possible that they could be experiencing burnout. You may therefore have concerns about the quality of your treatment and whether your physician is meeting accepted standards of care. If so, you might want to find out what choices are open to you.