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Addressing the crisis of physician burnout

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“The Suicide,” by Edouard Manet.

Arnold R. Eiser, M.D., discusses physician burnout and that doctors have a considerably higher suicide rate does than the general population.

He ends his essay, a blog on  The Philadelphia Inquirer Web site, with:

”I think it is fair to say that there a crisis in medical practice in the United States. We need to examine the cultural and social causes of this crisis if we are to maintain high professional standards for the medical profession.  No patient wants a clinician taking care of them who is burned out, depressed, or suicidal.  However, if we just focus on individuals and their psychological shortcomings, we will miss the big picture of factors afflicting postmodern healthcare.

”As a start we need to teach physicians-in-training how to deal better with stress. Mindfulness training including meditation, case discussions of stressful practice situations, and other positive psychology practices need to be part of the curriculum of medical schools and should also be made available to practicing physicians. We also need to re-examine the current best practices in medicine to take into account their psychological impact on clinicians. Reevaluating the usual way of doing business in medicine is not just important for clinicians. It is also essential for the good of their patients and of society too.”

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