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Why Job Burnout Among Healthcare Professionals Is a Danger to Us All

Regardless of one's profession or job title, it's normal to have an off day or to experience periods where it's difficult to concentrate and accomplish work-related tasks. However, in cases where an employee's work productivity is severely impeded and he or she experiences feelings of deep dissatisfaction, a more serious underlying issue may be to blame.

The Mayo Clinic defines job burnout as "a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and value of your work." When experienced in the field, burnout may result in an employee becoming increasingly cynical and careless, having difficulty performing work duties and experiencing psychosomatic physical symptoms like headaches and backaches.

Research indicates that individuals who are employed in high-stress positions are more prone to burnout. For the men and women who work as doctors and nurses in the medical field, reports of job burnout are high with a recent Medscape survey revealing that 46 percent of U.S. doctors report to feeling its negative effects.

For patients, the dangers associated with being operated on and cared for by a doctor or nurse who is feeling stressed out, underappreciated and insecure about his or her professional abilities can be significant. In an effort to prevent job burnout among healthcare professionals, some hospitals and medical facilities have implemented wellness programs aimed to promote mindfulness and self-awareness. Many are also trying to improve employee feedback mechanisms to ensure that the concerns and complaints of those entrusted with the care and very lives of patients are acknowledged and acted upon.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, "Why healthcare must fight against doc, nurse burnout," Leslie Small, May 22, 2015

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