Physician burnout in the operating room and emergency department

It’s no secret that burnout is prevalent among primary care doctors, with 30 percent wanting the leave the field within five years.

It gets no better in other specialties.

I recently read that, frighteningly, almost 9 percent of surgeons admitted to a lapse in medical judgment within the past 3 months, in part due to the fact that nearly 40 percent admitted to burnout.

The author of that post, an emergency physician, wonders what the burnout rate is in an ER environment:

Working in an emergency department is a mixture of exhilaration and challenge, which creates both physical and mental stress. Yet we know that patients in the emergency room need their treating physicians to be attentive, alert and at the top of their game.

Professional satisfaction in the medical field is rapidly declining, and that’s starting to affect patient care. More needs to be done to improve mental and emotional support of doctors already in the field, but sadly, improving doctors’ professional satisfaction is nowhere to be heard in the health reform debate.

That needs to change.