America’s broken health care order is doing to its health workers, according to a 312-page report published Tuesday by the National Academy of Medicine, one of the nation’s most prestigious medical institutes.
The report determined that as many as half of the country’s doctors and nurses undergo substantial symptoms of burnout, resulting in increased dangers to patients, malpractice claims, worker truancy, and turnover, as well as billions of dollars in losses to the medical industry every year.
In recent years, as the medical society has grown increasingly alarmed over the difficulties of burnout, the proposed solutions have focused on increasing the flexibility of individual doctors and nurses. “What this report is stating is that this is a systemic problem that needs systemic solutions,” stated Cassel, a former president of the American Board of Internal Medicine. “You can’t just explain doctors meditation, yoga, and self-care. We need big, fundamental differences.”
The committee’s authorities — which included doctors, nurses, health executives, and administrators in bioethics, neurology, and pharmacy — spent 18 months paddling through mountains of research on clinician burnout. They discovered that between 35 and 54 percent of nurses and doctors encounter exhaustion. Among medical students and residents, the rate is as high as 60 percent.
Symptoms, they said, combine emotional exhaustion, bitterness, loss of enthusiasm and pleasure in their work, and increasing aloofness from their patients and the patients’patients’ ailments. The difficulty has been linked to higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. The suicide valuation among physicians, for example, is twice that of the general population and one of the highest among all occupations.