Anyone can fall into a rut at work. In fact, many people become burned out in their profession, causing them to lose focus and interest, thereby driving them to seek different lines of work. It’s normal.
But when that burnout affects those who work in the medical field, innocent and unsuspecting patients can pay the price. This is because burnout in a healthcare setting can lead to medical mistakes with catastrophic consequences as physical and cognitive abilities wane.
How common is burnout among doctors?
It’s far more common than you’d think. In fact, one study found that more than half of all surgeons report feeling burnout. Other specialties see similar figures, which means that patients may be at risk of improper diagnosis or a missed diagnosis, a surgical error, or a medication mistake because their medical provider simply isn’t tuned in to the job as much as they should be.
What causes burnout?
There are several contributing factors to burnout in the medical field. Among them are wider use of electronic medical records, data entry requirements, and reduced face time with patients. A poor work-life balance and issues in a doctor’s personal life can also wreak havoc on professional dedication and attention.
What does this mean for you?
To start, it means that you need to be aware of how your doctor is acting when you go in for an appointment. If he or she seems disengaged or too quick to brush off your concerns and move on to the next patient, then you might want to think about switching providers.
If you’ve already been injured by a medical professional’s mistake, then you’ll want to take a close look at the circumstances to determine whether burnout led to a lack of attention. In other words, you’ll want to assess whether the mishap was avoidable. If it was, then you may have evidence to support a medical malpractice claim.