I am a burnt out doctor. This is why it matters The shocking number of physician suicides indicates a culture and system that fails to value the profession.
The clinic is running late. My last patient walks in. Her scan report, printed in front of me – bad news. The cancer has grown. I’m experienced at this, I take it slowly. I use the “right” words. She crumples, her eyes fill. The specialist nurse reaches out, takes her hand. In this maelstrom of intense emotion, I feel … nothing. No tears, no heartbreak. I gently explain the next steps, desperately hoping she cannot detect the emptiness behind my words.
This is burnout. A deadening of emotion, a feeling of detachment. I recognise it in myself. I hear it in my colleague’s dark humour, or another doctor wondering aloud how many people’s day she has ruined. Over half of young oncologists working in northern Europe exhibit signs of burnout, a strikingly high number. What causes this level of burnout in young, talented, empathetic doctors? Continue reading... The Guardian