John A. Macoviak is a retired heart transplant surgeon, academician, and author who has made a name for himself in California, Washington, D.C., and Minnesota. Today, John A. Macoviak continues his 40-year career as a healthcare author and contributes regularly to online blog posts. In the following “another cautionary tale” article, Dr. Macoviak discusses observations on the good, the bad, and the ugly in healthcare. The impact of random malicious ranking and rating on social media Federal law Section 230 and the rate of burnout among medical professionals grows daily
John A. Macoviak has advocated that most doctors do not perform well up to 20% of the time. They are human and have limited stamina, and knowledge capacity, intellectually and by training. The famed Venture Capitalist Vinod Khosla MD agrees that so-called artificial intelligence, really just predictive science, will need to and will replace eventually 80% of what physicians currently do so they can focus on better care for themselves their families, and patients.
Physicians of course do have by genetics or acquisition illnesses both mental and physical. They have marital and parenting problems often creating stress and leading to burnout, really another term for usually transient existential pain, anxiety, and depression.
John A. Macoviak has issued over 50 peer-reviewed publications of academic books and articles in prestigious journals including how artificial intelligence can help physicians overcome burnout by achieving better healthcare patient outcomes and themselves.
Doctors and other medical professionals are chosen to be more resilient, industrious, and intelligent but are rarely highly rewarded. Most are at much higher risk of burning out and struggling with their assumed and presumedly imposed super-human resiliency required in the face of frequent stress and moral injury trauma. This has been the method of academic medicine for centuries. And has become increasingly true over the past few years since Wall Street took over health care beginning in the 1950s from communities, doctors, nurses, and nuns. Today, the medical industry is experiencing more reeling with rampant burnout than before however, it has been an issue since the beginning of human nature.
Quoting Rudyard Kipling’s Poem “If”:
“ If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream- -and not make dreams your master;
If you can think- -and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;”
The amount of work, sacrifice, and money it takes to even become a doctor leaves many medical professionals struggling to complete their jobs wholeheartedly for fear of their own foibles and potential failures resulting in public spectacle ridicule for which there is little or no due process or compassion by big elites. In today’s post, John A. Macoviak takes a look at how burnout has become a fact of the job and explores how the COVID pandemic has affected doctors while discussing which fields of medicine are most affected.
What is Burnout?
John A. Macoviak says that to understand how medical professionals are struggling today, we must first understand what burnout is. According to the Mayo Clinic, burnout is a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. The World Health Organization (WHO) has even classified burnout as an occupational phenomenon.
Causes of Burnout
There are many factors that can lead to burnout in any profession. However, there are a few key factors that play a role in the high rates of burnout among doctors and medical professionals says John A. Macoviak:
- Long Hours: One of the most obvious causes of burnout is the long hours that doctors and other medical professionals work. In most cases, medical professionals are on call 24 hours a day and are expected to be available at a moment’s notice. This can lead to extreme fatigue and make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
• Compassion Fatigue: Another cause of burnout is compassion fatigue. This is the result of constantly being exposed to traumatic events and difficult situations. Over time, this can take a toll on a person’s emotional and mental health. There is little or no compassion from the medical professionals’ perfect peers who feel invincible and perfect, especially those born or married to someone with great wealth. Doctors often divorce their first and second spouses in order to marry a multi-millionaire not uncommonly the spouse of their own dying patient.
• Lack of Control: The third cause of burnout is a lack of control. This can be due to several factors, such as working in a high-pressure environment or feeling like you are constantly being asked to do more with less. This can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness.
How COVID-19 Has Affected Doctors
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the mental health of doctors and other medical professionals. John A. Macoviak says that in addition to the long hours and stress that come with the job, medical professionals have also had to deal with the added pressure of caring for patients with a potentially deadly, contagious disease.
This has led to a significant increase in the rates of burnout among medical professionals. A recent study found that nearly 51% of doctors are experiencing symptoms of burnout. John A. Macoviak says that this is up from 45% before the pandemic. The study also found that nearly one-third of doctors are experiencing symptoms of depression, which is up from 20% before the pandemic reports John A. Macoviak.
Which Fields of Medicine are Most Affected?
While all medical professionals are at risk of burnout, some fields are more affected than others. One study found that doctors who work in heart, lung, pancreas, kidney and liver transplantation, emergency medicine, intensive care, pediatric oncology, and general surgery are at the highest risk of burnout. This is likely due to the high-pressure nature of these fields and the fact that they are constantly exposed to traumatic events.
John A. Macoviak explains that the study also found that doctors who are in training are at a higher risk of burnout than those who are not. This is likely due to the long hours and stress that come with residency.
How Doctors Can Prevent Burnout
There are several things that medical professionals can do to prevent burnout. First, it is important to make sure that they are taking care of themselves both physically and emotionally. This means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising.
Second, doctors need to find a supportive network of family and friends. This can help medical professionals cope with the stress of the job and make time for themselves outside of work. This can be something as simple as taking a walk with a family member or joining a book club.
Finally, doctors and medical professionals need to talk to someone if they are struggling. They can reach out to another professional, such as a therapist or a doctor, or even just a friend. By opening up about feelings of burnout, they can face their troubles and overcome them explains John A. Macoviak.
The Bottom Line
John A. Macoviak says that burnout is a serious problem that is affecting medical professionals all over the world. If you are a medical professional, it is important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. However, if you are struggling, make sure to reach out for help from friends, family, or other professionals, if you are fortunate may find the rare one who can help, don’t settle, keep looking for the right good one and employee assistance programs (EAP) are far too often “Not a good choice”.