What Is Medical Burnout?

Doctors are so focused on the care of their patients that sometimes they forget to look to their own wellbeing. The pressures of working in the health field can also have negative impacts on their health with many suffering burnout.

Medical burnout refers to a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that is caused by high workloads leading to chronic and prolonged stress. It seems to occur most among people in health professions such as surgery, nursing, social work and counselling. The condition is even more prevalent in the areas of emergency medicine, family medicine and general intern medicine.

Doctors and other health professionals suffering from burnout are more likely to commit errors, provide a lower quality of care and receive lower scores in surveys of patient satisfaction. It leads to high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and suicide in those affected.