Compassion Fatigue

You know, timing really is everything. I was sitting at the Airport Marriot in Newark, NJ last week. I was preparing for the first day of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Conference there. I was speaking on the topic of physician burnout. Widespread. About 50% of doctors in the U.S. Etc. You know my riff on this.

BUT. I shared a new slide, drawn from the 2019 Medscape Survey of Physician Burnout, Depression and Suicide. Fascinating. Look at slide 5. What you will see are the factors that are listed by physicians partaking in the survey as the “major causes” of their burnout. The factors here parallel what you usually see listed as causes. Administrative stuff, EMR’s, cog in the wheel, too much time not enough money, etc. Very little about providing medical care per se.  

BUT. Now take a look at this. This piece introduced me to a term I had never heard before. “Compassion Fatigue.” If you are a nurse, that is what is getting you down. Being up close and personal with patients, their suffering, their backstories, their condescending attitudes.  

Bottom Line. Fascinating juxtaposition. Doctors weighted down by bureaucracy, nurses by the providing of medical care itself. Like I said, Compassion Fatigue is sort of a new thought for me. I need to think about why doctors are weighted down by “stuff” and nurses are weighted down by “real stuff.” 

You should too!

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