Tait Shanafelt, Director of the Department of Medicine Program on Physician Well-Being at Mayo Clinic, discusses the dangers of physician burnout. His daughter had to endure a three-week stay in the ICU as well as a series of brain surgeries. The medical care was exceptional, he says, but one of the physicians stood out — spending extra time with her, admiring her classmates’ artwork, and providing support and guidance to the family through a frightening journey. “As a physician, I can say that he embodied the best and most noble ideals of our profession,” Shanafelt says. But recently, that same physician almost left medicine due to burnout. He was under 45 years old. It’s a similar story across the profession, says Shanafelt. “Today’s medical practice environment is destroying the altruism and commitment of our physicians.”
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