View From A Surgeon- Burn Out

View From A Surgeon- Burn Out

Hi, Dr Paul here talking on the next instalment of View From A Surgeon, In this instalment we are going to talk about Burn Out. Burn Out is massive in the media right now across the board in every profession and every speciality, but it is obviously near and dear to my heart with being a medic. Burn out is rife in the medical profession, both in the NHS and in Private Medical Practice.

What is unique about a medic that can lead to Burn Out?

  1. Our personalities- We tend to be high performing, high achieving and very demanding of ourselves which can become all consuming and mentally exhausting
  2. We don’t like getting it wrong-  It really plays with our heads when we get it wrong, especially with the severe consequences that come with getting it wrong
  3. The hours that we work- The hours that we work are ridiculous, we work from stupid o’clock to stupid o’clock, and when you’re over tired you become stressed, can under perform and can also become very antagonistic and difficult to work with, not only effecting your mental state, but those around you
  4. Shift Patterns- When you come on shift you can be greeted by patients of which you have no prior knowledge of, only a stack of notes, this can be severely overwhelming and put a lot of stress on you

What we can also easily forget to mention is that the young doctors coming up through the ranks are experiencing all the problems that we read about young people facing today (loneliness, social media, expectations and appearances) on top of the medic specific issues. The issues that they face as young people are not issues I really encountered when I was their age and it is important for us older (I prefer more experienced) consultants to keep a close eye on the well being of our juniors coming up through the ranks.

So I’ve told you what Burn Out is, what can you do about it?

Get help, get advice, talk to someone. Talk to those that are senior to you, junior to you, your peers, friends, anyone you feel you can trust; just please don’t leave it too late, don’t try to cope with Burn Out on your own, that’s where it can get really dangerous and you really just shouldn’t do it. If you need medication, there is nothing wrong with that, it should be treated as seriously as any other illness.

I don’t have all of the answers, i’m an old guy (as I said, I prefer experienced) that’s been there, seen it, done it and I’ve actually experience Burn Out myself. Now how i got through it was my own personal way of dealing with things, I used the power of exercise and looked for colleagues to help me with it. That is just my way, you may have your own way of doing it, I don’t know exactly what that is, but I ask just one thing: please don’t do it on your own.

That was Dr Paul on Burn Out, we’ll talk again soon.



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