“It is vital the issue of burnout is addressed, so we can sustainably deliver the very best care for our patients.”
Dr Alison Wright Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
One in three UK doctors working in obstetrics and gynaecology may suffer from workplace burnout.
“This could affect their well-being and how they treat patients.“
This is the finding of new research, published in the journal BMJ Open, led by scientists at Imperial College London. Published Nov 2019.
Caring for others in any role for a long term produces emotional and psychological stress, exhaustion and loss of empathy. According to Giles Dawnay MD “Sit around the table in the doctors’ mess and a similar theme becomes apparent. While the motives for becoming a doctor range from the altruistic to the ambitious, one common experience is that most people’s day to day lives are governed by fear. Fear of getting it wrong and hurting someone, fear of the GMC investigating you, fear of looking foolish, fear of losing something that has been worked so hard for, fear of being a failure. Why? Because as doctors we are unable to talk about our mistakes for fear that it will be used against us.”
When doctors and nurses feel burnt out, it is not just them that it can affect, patients and their wider team. Doctors, nurses and caregivers who are engaged are much more likely to be more compassionate and in turn able to provide better and safer patient care.
Every major body you look at, the Royal College of Nursing, the Medical Board and all professional publications, cry out for burnout to be dealt with, provision put into place and practitioner care/wellbeing should be a priority, but still, it seems to slide down the list of importance. It is vitally important to keep this situation and issue at the forefront, because it is not just going to go away.
However, I am not on a rampage just for the employers; I believe it is also the responsibility of each individual, for their personal care and wellbeing. After all, burnout does not happen overnight, it is an insidious monster that develops, grows and engulfs our life, until we physically, emotionally and psychologically call a halt and fight our way back. Recovery is a long and very painful process, prevention is always preferable.
Everyone I speak to knows about burnout, acknowledges it, but is the first to say “but I am OK,” nobody is superhuman, though caregivers at all levels from professionals, to volunteers and home-based people very often try to be. Carrying vast amounts of emotional baggage around with them.
One of the phenomena I am hearing a lot about recently is with nursing staff in particular, who are retiring or reducing their hours are revisiting very vividly old cases that they may not have thought about in years, but they become very emotional and for some, it is affecting their sleep patterns. This has not just been talked about with UK nursing staff, but from some lovely ladies in the US, South Africa and New Zealand. Maybe this is a way of demonstrating that when traumas are not dealt with, but are suppressed, they do come out at some time.
If you are being affected by any of these issues, please drop me a line via the website www.lindasage/contact I would love to hear about your concerns, experiences and knowledge, as that may just be what somebody else is looking for.
Be kind to yourself, so that you can continue to be kind to others.
We really need amazing people, just like you.
Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity.