Group therapy, nurse support prevent physician burnout

With research showing that burnt-out hospital staff are more prone to unprofessional patient care, finding ways to prevent physician burnout is important to improving the quality of care and patient safety. It may be as simple as group counseling or additional support to avoid professional burnout.

Physicians in Ottawa gather together every two weeks to talk about stressful situations at work, such as a difficult patient or a challenging diagnosis, reports the Winnipeg Free Press.

"One of the things that (doctors) get from these groups is they really have the opportunity to experience intense emotions, things like feeling helpless and impotent ... And then in the context of a safe, collegial environment you are able to express it," said Dr. Miriam Salamon.

As the demand for care continues to grow thanks to aging Baby Boomers and health reform, on-the-job stress for physicians--the common predecessor to burnout--is likely to escalate. Physician counseling could alleviate these stresses, making more docs more engaged and energized to treat patients.

For the high-stress setting of the hospital intensive care unit (ICU), burnout could be stymied by adding more female nurses to ICU teams, according to new research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The study also revealed other gender-related findings. Female caregivers were more likely to say they experienced on-the-job stress, but they were more resistant to burnout than their male colleagues.

For more:
- read the Winnipeg Free Press article
- read the News article
- here's the study abstract