• Posted on: 3 July 2019
  • By: mcglone.39

Doctors in Distress

It’s no secret that physicians are hurting: 54 percent of doctors report symptoms of burnout; 39 percent are depressed; and as many as 400 commit suicide every year, a rate that is twice as high as other professionals (and higher even than the military). Hospitals and health systems face $17 billion in annual turnover costs related to burnout, according to a May 2018 report.

The problem isn’t new, but as it intensifies, institutions are turning to a new professional role – the chief wellness officer – and charging these professionals with finding solutions. Fueled by positive results from pioneers, including Bernadette M. Melnyk, PhD, RN, named Ohio State University’s chief wellness officer in 2011, and Tait Shanafelt, MD, who has done extensive research around physician burnout and was named Stanford Medicine’s first chief wellness officer last year, the National Academy of Medicine is now recommending that health systems hire their own CWOs. NAM’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience, co-sponsored by the AAMC, is working with more than 180 health care organizations around the country to raise visibility about clinician burnout.

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