Monica Hagan Vetter, MD
Symptoms of burnout continue to plague the physician community overall, but a recent survey suggests that factors such as resiliency and the ability to flourish can diminish its detrimental effects. Members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) reported a 23% rate of burnout, scoring highest on measures of emotional exhaustion (16.9%) and depersonalization (14.8%). However, the survey also revealed several possible factors that protect against burnout. Married participants reported higher flourishing (P
= .026) than nonmarried members, and parents reported higher resilience scores (P
= .023). Religious affiliation and age were not associated with scores on any inventories.
Although the signs of a downward trend for burnout are encouraging, Vetter said, much work remains to ensure not just SGO members receive help or counseling but also that all physicians are aware of the resources afforded to them. “We know what burnout can do to healthcare professionals, so we want to prevent that from happening in the first place,” she said.
Peterson C. A Primer in Positive Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2006.
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