There is a fever in healthcare. “We are Burning UP! About Burning Out!” Many of us feel burned out at times. Then we read how our colleagues are reporting they are burned out as well. People are making a career or at least devoting a significant amount of their professional work to understanding why we are so dissatisfied with our life and work.
In JAMA this week there is another study about new physicians, specifically 2nd year residents. They have graduated from medical school and done their internship and are at a turning point. One of the astounding findings was that 1 in 6 (14.1% of the over 3500 new doctors) regret their career choice. They have devoted 5 year of their lives, medical school and internship, and now see this as a mistake. Most will stay in medicine; debts to pay and perceived lack of choices, but will they ever be happy?
If there was a silver lining in the results, it was the finding that those who had higher empathy scores and emotional social support in the last year of medical school were less likely to experience burnout and report career choice regret.
those who had higher empathy scores and emotional social support in the last year of medical school were less likely to experience burnout
In palliative care, empathy for patients and families is the key to our effective practice. Developing empathy and love for ourselves and colleagues provides some immunity to burnout. In response to this crisis many are looking to resiliency training as an answer. This does not address the emotional distress and ennui that society feels in our increasingly digitally connected but personally unconnected world.