Saturday November 11, 2017

How to tell if your doctor is burned out

Listen 7:40
Dr. Mamta Gautam

(Michelle Valberg)

Psychiatrist Mamta Gautam is known as the "doctor's doctor" because she works almost exclusively with physicians who are facing emotional turmoil. It's a busy practice: surveys show that half of Canadian physicians report some level of mental distress due to their jobs.

According to Dr. Gautam, physicians often wait too long to seek treatment. She advises people in stressful jobs to make themselves aware of the stages of burnout so they can seek treatment earlier.

Gautam says there are three stage of burnout. 

Doctor burn out inforgraphic

Gautum believes physicians are particularly susceptible to burnout because of the high stakes of their profession. Many make life or death decisions daily. Further, physicians tend to have personality traits that can make them prone to burnout; they are highly conscientious, responsible, caring and compassionate. There are also the challenges of providing care in an environment of continued cutbacks, with growing demands from more complex patients.

To fix the issue, Dr. Gautam believes that there needs to be a fundamental change in the culture of medicine. She says healthcare institutions need to better support their doctors and help them prevent stress before it leads to burnout.

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UPDATE: 

This episode featured a reference to a "viral video" that was filmed at a Gainsville, Florida clinic last month. A patient's daughter filmed an altercation with a doctor, who lost his temper with the patient. We aired a portion of audio from the video to open up the discussion about what contribute to "doctor burnout." The clinic has released a statment explaining what happened from their point of view, and we wanted to update you on that. You can read the statment it here.