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October 15, 2020

Burnout in the medical workplace: The European perspective – M3 Insights

Healthcare professionals have long been susceptible to burnout and mental distress, due to the nature of their jobs, with demanding hours, high pressure and heavy workloads.

Burnout is a work-related stress syndrome resulting from chronic exposure to job stress. The term was introduced in the early 1970s by psychoanalyst Freudenberger and has subsequently been defined by Christina Maslach and others as consisting of three qualitative dimensions which are:
  1. emotional exhaustion
  2. cynicism and depersonalization
  3. reduced professional efficacy and personal accomplishment
This may have significant negative personal consequences, that can translate into:
  • substance abuse,
  • broken relationships,
  • suicide
But also could lead to professional consequences such as:
  • lower patient satisfaction,
  • impaired quality of care,
  • medical errors, potentially ending up lawsuits.

Insights and burnout statistics from 7,000 physicians and healthcare workers in Europe (2020)

In 2019, we gathered responses from over 9000 US-based healthcare professionals (and you can check the results here),  and from August to September 2020, we have surveyed over 7,000 healthcare professionals from the UK and other European countries, to learn more about how they experience burnout at their workplace.

Top three insights about burnout from our from our European M3 Members:

  • Although 62% of European healthcare professionals who took part in the survey are satisfied with their current job, 80% of them recognize that they are spending off-work time to complete work-related tasks.
Healthcare professionals
  • 37% reported that they were starting to show signs of burnout while 7% already considered they were experiencing burnout.
  • The top three mentions of the most prevalent drivers of burnout in the healthcare workplace were: the abundance of bureaucratic tasks, insufficient compensation, and not enough time for patient care. 

Our European panel members also shared with us what they consider can be done to reduce burnout in the medical work environment. Amongst the most commonly mentioned things were reducing administrative tasks, staffing care teams more appropriately based on current workload, and improvements in management and leadership from those in responsibility positions. 

We also asked them what mechanisms they had to alleviate stress and while most of them spend time with family and friends and almost half of them spend time outdoors, or do moderate exercise or practice hobbies, less than 9% of respondents mentioned therapy as a mechanism they use to manage and control stress.

Check the survey results by country

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Interested in other articles about mental health and the medical sector?

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