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‘You will burn and you will burn out; you will be healed and come back again.’
Burnout among United States physicians has reached epidemic proportions. Sadly, suicide is the leading cause of death in male resident physicians and the second leading cause of death in their female counterparts.1 Physicians and medical students have significantly higher rates of burnout and depression than the general population.2 Across a wide spectrum of specialties, more than half of all physicians are experiencing professional burnout.3 Burnout is defined as a triad of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment associated with work.4 The toll is not insignificant and is associated with poor quality of life, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation in the physician and also poor patient care. Major medical errors are strongly correlated with burnout among surgeons,5 with a 17% increased risk of being named in a malpractice lawsuit.6 In addition, we take our work lives home with us, which can detrimentally affect personal and family relationships. Over 40% of spouses/partners report that their physician partner comes home from work too tired to …
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