Physician burnout could hurt patients too

Los Angeles Times, January 5, 2011

The editors of Anesthesiology published two studies on medical-staff burnout on Tuesday, and the resulting potential safety risk to patients. In the first study, a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine team administered an online survey to all the members of one perioperative unit -- that is, the doctors, nurses and other staff to tend to surgical patients before and after their operations. They found that physicians, and particularly residents, were at higher risk of burnout than nurses and other personnel. Another group, at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, focused on burnout among senior physicians -- chairs of academic anesthesiology departments. They found that about half of the anesthesiologists they surveyed -- 55 doctors in all -- met their criteria for "high burnout" or "moderately-high burnout."


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