Safety

Physician burnout, depression remain a concern for healthcare staffers, patients

Hospital Safety Insider, February 22, 2018

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In a recent survey of American doctors conducted by Medscape, 42% of respondents said they feel burned out, and another 15% said they were depressed. Of those who identified as depressed, 3% said they suffer from clinical depression.

The highest rates of burnout occurred among critical care physicians (48%), neurologists (48%), and family physicians (47%), the survey found. Filtered by gender, women more often felt burned out than their male counterparts (48% versus 38%). By age, doctors in the 45-54 range most often experienced burnout, at just over 50%.

Obviously, burnout and depression continue to be concerns for doctors themselves (as documented in articles like this, this, and this). But the Medscape survey also reinforced the impact depressed docs can have on both patients and fellow healthcare workers.

As far as patient care is concerned, 29% of the depressed survey respondents admitted to being less friendly with patients, 24% were less motivated to be careful when taking patient notes, and 14% express their frustration in front of patients.

And here's where safety comes into the picture: 14% of the depressed respondents said they make errors they wouldn't normally make, putting patients and other healthcare workers at risk. While 2% admitted to making errors that could harm coworkers, it is reasonable to assume that percentage in actuality is at least a little bit higher.

So what can your healthcare facility do to reduce burnout and depression, at least in the colloquial sense, among staff members? Check out these nine suggestions from the Mayo Clinic.



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