Everyday history -Burnout dissected

This Friday, our weekly meeting of “Everyday History Society” had a very interesting extended discussion on the issue of Burnout which we had examined in brief previously

See blog: https://prashantbhatt.com/2012/05/20/check-burnout-forum/

Dr.V.Natarajan (Nattu Bhai) summarized the article findings and discussion of McManus et al –Stress Burnout and doctors: attitudes to work are determined by personality and learning style. (BMC Medicine 2004:2:29)

Radiology department-LBMC, different professionals,                                           managers, doctors, dentists,Staff nurses, radiographers                                               of different nationalities and backgrounds have varying                                    approaches to Issues..                                                                                                                Our Front desk Manager-                                                                                                    Mohamed Shweki has an interesting style..                                                                         will not get Burnt out easily ..   see blog-                                                                          Learning From Shweki-https://prashantbhatt.com/2012/04/08/learning-from-mohamed-shwki/ 

Some interesting points which emerged from the subsequent discussions

Attitude of service helps

Dr.Emad Tabana who originally trained in Iraq and has seen the Yemeni , Libyan, Canadian systems of medicine related his change in attitude which led to improvement.

“Till 4th year I used to faint at the sight of blood. One day, I was in the casualty and many persons with serious injuries were brought in. I wanted to help them out, and I spent a long time doing so. After a few hours, when I was immersed in helping the wounded I realized that my clothes were full of blood. But I was no longer afraid of blood. From that day, my attitude was not to focus on my fears but to try and help the patients.”

Does our Exam system foster a particular style of learning?

“To pass the exams one should know the examination system, to practice the subject one needs an understanding”..This old aphorism has been going on in different medical circles in some form or other.

If one does not know the MCQs in the Question bank of the past 10 years, one is not going to be able to even qualify for the entrance in Post graduate courses.

If one does not know the over 30 differential diagnosis of Solitary Pulmonary nodule one cannot hope to pass your MD exams.

But if you have to run a practice or manage a department, these MCQs and Differential diagnosis are not going to help.

So where are we going to find the balance.

Probably it depends on which phase and level of practice one is.

Interesting framework for discussion

The meeting was interesting as the article gave a useful reference to discuss

different issues relating to learning, personality, work stress and practice as

related to modern medicine.

These can be applied to any field.

Main headings

The following are some of the main headings under which they approached

Those interested can go through the main article

BMC Medicine 2004, 2:29 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-2-29

Approaches to work

Surface disorganised: Feeling overwhelmed by work. For example, being unsure what is needed to complete a task, finding it difficult to organise time effectively, reading things without really understanding them.

Surface rational: Preference for order, detail, and routine. For example likes to know precisely what is expected, puts of a lot of effort into memorising important facts when learning something new.

Deep approach: Integrative approach that leads to personal understanding. For example, tries to relate new ideas to situations where they might apply.

Workplace climate

 Choice-independence: Perception of control over what one does and how one does it.

  Supportive-receptive: Perception that help is available in the workplace and colleagues are understanding.

 Workload: Perception of heavy workload and having to cope alone.

Many components are required to run a                                                                                 healthcare institution :                                                                                                                  The Information Technology and Accounts team                                                                              in our organization has a mix of young and not-so-young                                                     and each have a different energy which make a creative whole. 

The three separate components of burnout. Note: burnout on the MBI is indicated by higher scores on the emotional exhaustion and depersonalisation scales, and lower scores on the scale of personal accomplishment.

 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.

Differences in motivation and process of the surface, deep and strategic approaches to learning assessed in the Study Process Questionnaire


 Motivation      Completion of the course Fear of failure

Process           Rote learning of facts and ideas

Focussing on task components in isolation

Little real interest in content


 Motivation                   Interest in the subject

Vocational relevance

Personal understanding

Process                        Relate ideas to evidence

Integration of material across courses

Identifying general principles


 Motivation                  Achieving high grades

Competing with others

To be successful

Process                        Use techniques that achieve highest grades

Level of understanding Patchy and variable

Some interesting quotes from the article

The child is the father of man….William Wordsworth

Genes are not destiny, so neither personality nor learning style are destiny,

Nurture interacts with nature.

The education forms the common mind,

Just as the twig is bent, the tree’s inclined…..Alexander Pope

Concluding thoughts of  Sir William Osler (1849–1919), one of the most distinguished

physicians of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, who recognised that only

some doctors are happy in their professional lives:

“To each one of you the practice of medicine will be very  much as you make it –

to one a worry, a care, a perpetual annoyance; to another, a daily joy and a life

of as much happiness and usefulness as can well fall to the lot of man.”

 Everyday History themes

This article forms a series of different trends of Every day history

observed in our group.

Some other suggested reading for those interested are as follows.

For “Mass Observation themes” see blogs

Mass Observation –Tripoli

A poster at the San Francisco Church-Dahra-Tripoli:                                          Examining spiritual traditions as relevant to the common people                                       we explore their faith and meaning which different                                               expatriate communities find in them.                                                                                   In themes relating to subaltern historiography we are not                                      dismissive of faith based groups as is the case observed in                                                   some other forms of historiography.
For some interesting insights –see blog

Conversations in Faith and Belief


Musings around Easter-Remembering St.Augustine of Hippo


Mass Observation –Malta

Exploring Spiritual Traditions-Ta Pinu monastery Gozo


Conversations on Identity-Workshops in Malta


For “History of Humanity series” see blogs

Remembering Hay Market


Remembering Studs Terkel.


For “Management related issues in context of Libya-see articles

On Motivation


Pygmalion Effect


Cascade Effect


For issues related to Arab Spring-Libyan experiences

Using “Life Story interview guidelines interview series” see articles

One year on-What is the Change https://prashantbhatt.com/2012/02/19/one-year-on-what-is-the-change/

Friends of Bouazizi http://www.chowk.com/Views/World/Friends-of-Bouazizi

Shafshoofa Maleshi  http://www.chowk.com/Views/World/Shafshoofa-Maleshi-Tripoli-is-Free


Saluting our Ladies with the Lamp  http://www.tripolipost.com/articledetail.asp?c=12&i=8357


Next theme-concluding thoughts

The theme of Burnout forms part of a series of examining our

Conditions which was started by the review of Aneez Ismail’s article

“Asian Doctors in the NHS:Service and betrayal”.

British Journal of General Practice, October 2007.

See blog https://prashantbhatt.com/2012/04/03/april-fools-day-musings/

This forms part of an attempt to have more informed discussions in

Our Reading groups and Everyday history society fora.

After some preliminary discussions on the nature of peasant movements

On the occasion of 25th May-which is observed as Naxalbari day in India

we will examine the different types of historiography in relation to working

people’s movements. In this we explore the themes of Structural Functionalism

as espoused by Radcliffe Brown, the Indian peasant struggles and conceptual frameworks

provided by Marxist historiography and the counter-point of Subaltern historiography.

The works and critic of the innovative thinker Ranajit Guha come to mind.

For this the root article which will form a framework for discussion is L.S.Vishwanath’s

“Peasant Movements in Colonial India An Examination of Some Conceptual Frameworks”

Economic and Political Weekly January 13, 1990

– – –


About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal : gracereadings.com
This entry was posted in Arab Spring-Libya, Health Policy, Learning, life and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Everyday history -Burnout dissected

  1. ShimonZ says:

    a very interesting discussion of important issues re health. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Pingback: What happened to my Ten dinars? « Prashantbhatt’s Weblog

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