As part of our reading group, for the past week, we have had some interesting
discussions and readings on the theme of “Burnout”
Issues of burnout in medical professionals-Doctors, paramedics, nurses,
managers in health set-ups came out.
Key features of Burnout
There is a difference between Burnout and middle-age crises, depression
though there may be overlap.(many smiles..)
An interesting article on this theme which will be discussed further in
our group -BMC Medicine 2004, 2:29 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-2-29-
lists the following components
Emotional exhaustion: Reduced energy and job enthusiasm;
emotional and cognitive distancing from the job.
Depersonalisation: Cynicism; lack of engagement and distancing from patients;
treatment of patients as inanimate, unfeeling objects.
Personal accomplishment: A sense of efficacy and effectiveness; of involvement,
commitment and engagement; of capacity to innovate, change and improve.
The different components of a health care system
While the obvious focus can be on doctors, as is the target group of the above mentioned
article, there is a scope of broadening the forum by including Nursing, paramedical,
managerial persons. On asking their concerns, the following points came through
A radiographer- He pointed out how the routine puts him off, and now he
has been doing the same thing for almost a decade
It does become a bit difficult, especially at the end of a long day
when an overbearing person comes with the backing of management
to push things down the throat of a tired technician
Nursing– They just give us orders, not giving us the respect which is due to
a person who is involved in patient care.
“Just give me the pethidine” one senior doctor says in a harsh tone
Managers– In health care industry, we are dealing with people.
These are not commodities, and hence complex human issues are involved
The delivery is done by experienced medical professionals who
have their own base. It is difficult and frustrating to balance these
factors, while also meeting certain targets and parameters set up
by the “Board of Directors” . We are caught in between powerful
professionals with their years of experience (and egos) and powerful
finance board directors
– – –
Hopefully this forum will evolve to start a more fruitful discussion on issues concerning
Burnout and how to check it.