For Stressed Docs, Where to Turn?

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , January 19, 2012

When I get press releases on physician burnout or stress, my first reaction is to hit delete. Dog Bites Man. Physicians stressed? Is that really news?

Of course docs are stressed, not only from the nature of the job—saving lives (pretty stressful in itself)—but also due to the evolving nature of healthcare reform (which many don't like), mulling whether to get out of the business (especially if they are baby boomers), and considering whether to realign themselves with hospitals (which many are doing). Then there is the worry about malpractice litigation (often constant).

But it seems there is news on the stressed physician front. A recent survey and report by Physician Wellness Services, a Minneapolis, MN-based company that counsels physicians and hospitals on wellness and related issues, and Cejka Search, a St. Louis, MO-based physician executive search firm, shows more physicians are getting stressed and it's getting worse. Moreover, the report concludes that the health systems where they work aren't doing much about it. (Disclaimer: Cejka Search is an advertiser with HealthLeaders Media.)

Yes, physicians are stressed, and their numbers are growing every day. The impact extends beyond the lives of individual doctors and could be consequential for patient care and for physicians' relations with other professionals, such as nurses.


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