Find A Top Doc radio talks with Dr. Naim El Aswad about the startling facts on physican burnout, its prevalence, symptoms and treatment. Over half of physicians are suffering from this degenerating disease caused by the stress and pressures of daily work including:
- Overload with bureaucratic tasks and regulations
- Too many hours demanded at work (up to 20 hours a day)
- Loss of identity due to being a “cog in the wheel”
- Demands to see and treat too many patients in too short a time
- Lack of professional development resources.
- Required ability to process constant complaints from patients and staff
- Constant demand to operate at a high level with zero margin for error
Burnout is defined as a loss of personal connection with oneself resulting in:
- Loss of empathy
- Increased cynicism
- Erosion of enthusiasm for work
- Fatigue and loss of sleep
- Broken relationships
- Alcohol and drug usage
400 doctors commit suicide each year. Many doctors who have burnout fail to recognize it, even deny it.
Patient care suffers due to the doctors loss of ability to listen or even care. Communication breaks down with patients, staff, work place and loved ones.
Like cancer, it grows over time, and if it were diagnosed similar to cancer, by the time it is addressed, the stage would compare to 3B (dangerously close to level 4, untreatable) in cancer patients. However, burnout can be treated.
Specifically utilizing practices, tools and resources to develop emotional intelligence has a high rate of success. It breaks down into 10 to 15 competencies involving:
- Understanding Self
- Managing Self
- Understanding Others
- Managing Others
Your Emotional Quotient (EQ), different from IQ due to the ability to change and develop, can be assessed to identify and understand a person’s strengths, challenges and needs. With daily practice and support, a physician can recover and function well.
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