“If we want to alleviate the fatigue and frustration women physicians are experiencing, we can always start by solving two old problems: (1) All doctors need fewer bureaucratic tasks forced upon them, and (2) women physicians must be able to work in environments free of harassment and discrimination.
There’s yet another solution that must come from outside the workplace. The spouses and partners of women physicians must confront any gender inequalities that may exist within their relationship.
It would be impossible for anyone to work eight extra hours each week at home — on top of a busy work schedule — without experiencing greater exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of detachment (a.k.a. burnout).
We know from the data that occupational burnout harms personal relationships. If not addressed, it will continue to add stress to doctors’ home lives. But physicians must also recognize that gender inequality at home strongly contributes to burnout in the workplace. It, too, must be addressed.”
Robert Pearl is a plastic surgeon and author of Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors and Patients. He can be reached on Twitter @RobertPearlMD.
He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “Gender inequality is making burnout worse.”
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