Editor's Correspondence
April 22, 2013

Burnout Exists: Cut the Fuel and Use the Fire Hose

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Critical Care, VU Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Dr Girbes); and Department of Critical Care, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (Dr Zijlstra).

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(8):709-710. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.3277

Shanafelt et al1 again underscore the embarrassing incidence of burnout symptoms among physicians. However, in the discussion, 2 important issues should be addressed. Attributing burnout score differences between the general population and physicians to job characteristics can only be done after correction for baseline differences in proneness for burnout. Maybe students choosing medicine are somewhat more neurotic or less resilient.2,3 These students, and this is the second issue, start a professional life in an emotionally, physically, and financially exhausted condition. During training they have to survive in a highly competitive atmosphere, with still extreme working hours, and will end with large debts.4 In the meantime they have to find a relation and start a family. And then they are ready for a profession with a discolored aura.

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