Lege Artis Medicinae

[BURNOUT PHENOMENON IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION]

MAJOR János, RESS Katalin, HULESCH Bors, TÚRY Ferenc

APRIL 21, 2006

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2006;16(04)

[Burnout, a physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion, is caused by chronic emotional stress, and is considered to be the end-state of a multistep process. It is most frequently observed among professionals who work with people and are faced with people's negative emotions every day. Apart from emotional stress, certain personality traits as well as high workload have also been linked to the development of burnout. Burnout symptoms include physical exhaustion (depleted energy, tiredness, illnesses), emotional exhaustion (hopelessness, depression, suicide), and spiritual exhaustion (pessimism, negative attitudes, dehumanization of patients). Approximately 20% of all medical practitioners in several European countries, as well as in the United States, have been demonstrated to show burnout symptoms. Its prevalence appears to be similar across countries, but shows differences according to medical specialty. Doctors mostly seeing patients with easily curable diseases or with good prognosis have a lower risk of burnout, whereas those seeing chronic or dying patients on a daily basis are at a much higher risk. The prevention is possible in a number of ways, such as ensuring proper work environment, providing personality development and soft skills trainings, and participation in clinical case study workshops. The Humania Professional Socialization Workshop was set up with prevention in mind at Semmelweis University in 2002 to formally provide medical students, as part of their vocational training, with skills and techniques that later will help them cope with hard emotional situations and thus reduce the risk of burnout.]

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