But perhaps more influential is the amount of paperwork and bureaucratic functions that are now falling disproportionately on certain types of doctors, West continues. "They have to spend a lot more effort, time and energy dealing with aspects of medicine that aren't really why they got into it in the first place."
He characterized the burnout sensation as one of "emotional exhaustion, a feeling of being overwhelmingly weary, like you're at the end of your rope. They say they're having a hard time seeing other people as people, rather as objects and become more callous, and for a physician, that's an awful thing."
Ryan Stanton, MD, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians and medical director of the ED at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, KY, blamed high stress and shift turnover, as well as reduced compensation as reasons why emergency physicians are at the top of the burnout list.
"It used to be that the physician was put on a pedestal, a Norman Rockwell painting, a savior. But expectations of physicians continues to go up, yet compensation and assistance is going down," he says. "We're expected to do more and more and more. I'm four years out of residency and have been a physician for 10 years, but I can see myself getting burned out in the next five or six years."