Years ago, the Mayo Clinic was exploring effective ways to minimize burnout among the more than 3,000 doctors employed at its three medical and research facilities in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla. One strategy involved inviting physicians to participate in small groups to discuss topics that were fairly ubiquitous among doctors, from medical errors to work–life balance.
Explore this issueJune 2017
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“The results were striking,” says Colin West, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at Mayo’s Rochester campus and co-director of the facility’s physician well-being program. “It was a randomized trial. The group involved in these discussions had markedly lower rates of burnout and markedly increased levels of sense of meaning from their work as physicians.”
As an occupational hazard, physician burnout is real, pervasive and potentially dangerous to doctors and their patients. For years, numerous studies have revealed the alarming effects or consequences of burnout—both personally and professionally—which has prompted some in the healthcare community to get off the sidelines and seek intervention strategies. So far, their efforts have been successful, providing dedicated physicians with opportunities to rebuild their strength or energy, regain their confidence as skilled clinicians and rediscover their purpose as medical practitioners.