- A recent BMJ study found that healthcare professionals’ burnout can lead to unsafe patient care and career disengagement.
- Excessive workloads and work intensity have been shown to increase physician fatigue and exhaust motivation and engagement.
- The well-being of physicians is vital for safe healthcare systems. Urgent action is required to protect patients, physicians, and health systems.
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) released a study that states physician burnout undermines safe healthcare. A substantial number of healthcare professionals report symptoms of burnout that can lead to career disengagement and unsafe patient care.
According to the study, the challenges for patients, practitioners, researchers, and healthcare leaders fall into these three broad themes:
- Burnout undermines professional engagement and results in loss of commitment, high turnover, and absenteeism.
- Burnout is fundamentally rooted in the work environment. Excessive workloads and work intensity have been shown to increase physician fatigue and exhaust motivation and engagement.
- Healthcare provider burnout is a risk to patient safety and must be treated like any other patient safety risk. Implementing organization-level interventions, changing practices and culture, promoting staff engagement, and aligning policy efforts can help reduce burnout.
Read more about how you can reduce physician burnout on our blog Reversing the burnout crisis: Helping physicians be physicians again.
Another related BMJ article did 170 observational studies of 239,246 physicians to analyze the association of physician burnout with career engagement and the quality of care provided to patients.
Some of the key findings of this article include:
- Burnout was associated with a triple to almost quadruple increase in the odds of job dissatisfaction and regrets about career choices.
- Physicians with burnout were three times more likely to consider quitting than staying in their jobs.
- Burnout is associated with significantly lower productivity and doubled odds of patient incidents, low levels of professionalism, and significant decreases in patient satisfaction.
The well-being of physicians is vital for safe healthcare systems. The BKM study states that urgent action is required to protect patients, physicians, and health systems. This should include evidence-based and system-oriented interventions to design working environments that promote staff engagement and prevent burnout.
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