NAM Releases Report about Burnout

This week, the National Academy of Medicine released a 312 page report examining causes of burnout for health care providers and recommending solutions, many of which PCMS is already advocating for with policymakers to get at the root causes of stress and depression.  

The report was the result of an 18 month long investigation by doctors, nurses, health executives, and leaders in pharmacy, neurology, and bioethics.  Among its findings are that up to half of all nurses and doctors experience burnout with that number increasing to 60 percent for medical residents and med students.  Symptoms include detachment from patients, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, lack of joy from their professional endeavors, and lack of enthusiasm for life.  The causes included being victims of an increasingly broken health care system with the bulk of systemic dysfunction falling on providers resulting in mountains of paperwork, higher bureaucratic hurdles, insufficient resources, long hours, and an ongoing fear of malpractice lawsuits.  The report noted specific financial costs to the entire health care system because of this increased burnout. 

NAM stated that while efforts are underway to train providers to cope with stress, fundamental changes are required.  Recommendations in the report include more aggressive focus on the part of health care systems to reduce administrative burden and to empower executives to have broad authority to ensure the wellness of their staffs, state agencies that oversee licensure finding innovative ways of providing assistance to those under stress without any stigma or negative impact on their practice of medicine including further exposure to malpractice lawsuits, training in residency programs and medical schools specifically about increasing burdens in a broken health care system as well as how to mitigate that stress on a personal level as much as possible, and federal as well as state policies developed to get at the root causes of burnout--which is a central part of current PCMS advocacy priorities.  

A four page summary of the report can be found at this link:

The full report (5 MB) can be downloaded for free at this link using the blue "Download FREE PDF" box on the right side: