Doctors Who Suffer from Burnout Are Just Wimps

JUNE 14, 2016
Clark Gaither, MD

Ill equipped? Yes. Wimp? Absolutely not!
A wimp will give up at the first sign of hardship or trouble. On the contrary, physicians faced with ever-mounting mandates and obstacles to the good and proper care of their patients will just put their heads down and worker harder for as long as they are able. This inevitably leads them down the road to burnout at an even faster pace.
If physicians are to be faulted, it is because they are ill-equipped to deal with the ravages of burnout. Not because they are whining wimps.
What can be done?
The differences between job stress and JRB need to be firmly established in the mindset of all stakeholders. The two are decidedly different.
Wellness training, job burnout prevention strategies, and work-life balance instruction are conspicuously absent from the curriculums of most medical schools. This needs to change, immediately.
State medical boards, area health education agencies, insurance companies, and medical malpractice companies need to get on board with physician wellness and resilience training programs. Burnout mitigation, alleviation, and prevention strategies need to be promoted, as well.
Not least of all, it is time physicians begin to exert their influence more in the healthcare marketplace by exercising more control over where, how, and under what circumstances they will consent to practice medicine. This is not just for our sake as physicians, but for the sake of the medical profession and the proper care of our patients.
How do you feel? Are you being too heavily influenced by outside forces or negatively influenced by your current work environment? Send your comments to

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