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BURNOUT AND THE MEDICAL PROFESSION

A new Medscape Medical News report says that 50% of all physicians in six specialties feel "burned out".

For the 2015 Physician Lifestyle Report, Medscape surveyed over 20,000 U.S. physicians across 26 specialties to identify physicians who suffer from burnout and the causes associated with that burnout.

Medscape defined burnout as a "loss of enthusiasm for work, feelings of cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment." Over 45% of the survey participants said they are suffering from burnout, up from 39% in 2013.

The six physician specialties reporting the most burnout were:

1. Critical care (53%)

2. Emergency medicine (52%)

3. Family medicine (50%)

4. Internal medicine (50%)

5. General surgery (50%)

6. HIV/Infectious diseases (50%)

Over the years, I have represented dozens of physicians who fit the definition of "burned out". This often leads to inappropriate conduct at work, also known as "disruptive behavior" as well as excessive drug and alcohol use. Disruptive behavior is an area that the Medical Board has been pursuing more often and sanctioning doctors for their inappropriate behavior at work. Excessive drinking often results in a DUI arrest. If this occurs, the Medical Board will begin an investigation against you. For more on this, see my October 21, 2014, blog, "The Consequences of a DUI for a Healthcare Provider". If you are suffering from burnout, you may want to consult a skilled counselor or therapist to assist you before it begins to interfere with your job duties.

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