These Three Factors May Explain Physician Burnout

Check this out.  What you will see is a thorough, if unsurprising, explanation of the apparent causes of physician burnout. As I read this article, I found it interesting that the specialties most susceptible to burnout are “emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.” That got me to thinking. The toll that work takes on ER doctors is obvious. Heart attacks, auto accidents, shootings, and druggies trying to score a prescription for an opioid. How these doctors go to work every day I cannot fathom. God Bless!

But how about the other three specialties? This report is clear in noting that these specialties, all permutations of Primary Care, are practice types where a meaningful relationship used to exist between physician and patient. But no longer, for reasons that the article explains very well. Everything from insurance companies making doctors into interchangeable commodities to Electronic Patient Records placing a computer squarely between doctor and patient. Literally and figuratively!

That in turn got me thinking about a wonderful book by my friend Dr. Glenna Crooks. Glenna’s recent book, The Networksage, is a fascinating examination of how individuals need to be mindful of the networks that support them. I was honored to have the opportunity to write a forward for this book and would commend it to you as important reading.

BUT. That’s not the book that this article made me think about. Nope. When I first met Glenna, she was delivering a keynote address on one of her earlier books. Covenants. You can listen to it here and hear her describe the special relationships that exist (-ed?) between patients and their physicians. A linkage formed based on trust and responsibility.

Bottom Line. So. Why are PCP’s the best/worst candidates for burnout? Loss of control of the practice is one reason.  And, to summarize this article in Glennaspeak, another reason for burnout is that the covenants they had with patients and held dear have broken down. 



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