Mayo Clinic Team Outlines 9-Point Strategy for Physician Burnout Improvement

Physician burnout is a particularly severe problem for clinicians engaged in pain management. The topic was considered at length in a course presentation delivered this fall at PAINWeek® 2016, and researchers from Mayo Clinic have been charting the escalation and cost of burnout for over 10 years. This work was recently distilled into a set of recommendations for addressing the risk of burnout, and the 9-point plan is offered in the current edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Tait Shanafelt, MD, director of Mayo Clinic’s Program on Physician Well-being, noted, “Unfortunately, many organizations see burnout as a personal problem to be addressed by the individual physician. It is clear, however, that burnout is a system issue, and addressing it is the shared responsibility of both the individuals and healthcare organizations.”

The authors state that more than 50% of physicians in the US are experiencing symptoms of burnout, and that the rate is on the rise. Burnout carries adverse implications at the clinical, organizational, and personal levels, and much remains to be done to reverse the trend and address the problem. At PAINWeek 2016, Dawn Buse, PhD, associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, observed “As healthcare professionals, we cannot take care of other people if we have nothing left to give. I like to remind everyone when you’re listening to the safety instructions from the flight attendant, she or he says ‘put on your mask first before helping those around you.’” The Mayo team have developed and implemented 9 strategies to combat burnout, and conclude that “deliberate, sustained, and comprehensive efforts by the organization to reduce burnout and promote engagement can make a difference.”

Read a news story about the recommendations here.

The journal article may be read here.


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