When you go in for surgery or just for a checkup, how invested is your physician? This is something that is potentially life-changing for you. Does your doctor even care? Or does the doctor look exhausted, like they cannot wait to get home? Maybe they even look like they wish they had chosen a different career path entirely.
This can set off some alarm bells in your head. The last thing you need is a fatigued doctor who mentally checked out before you even got into the room. That type of attitude can lead to a loss of focus and simple mistakes. You could suffer serious injuries or have a medical condition go overlooked.
Why does this happen? And why is it getting worse?
Burnout has always been a problem in the medical profession. It is a very difficult job. It is mentally and physically taxing. Not everyone is cut out for it. In some cases, the results — losing a patient, for instance — can really weigh on a doctor in a way workers in other industries never have to endure.
However, reports show that it is getting worse. One study looked at a span of three years and found that the burnout rates jumped from 45.5 percent all the way to 54.4 percent in such a short time. Clearly, doctors have become less invested in their jobs.
The lack of doctor-patient relationships
One potential problem is that doctor-patient relationships have deteriorated, and they have gotten replaced by insurance company-client relationships. In many cases, doctors are not free to offer any treatment they want.
Insurance companies dictate what they can and cannot do. This causes burnout because young, enthusiastic doctors may have dreams of helping everyone they meet, but they quickly find that a lot of red tape prevents them from really doing it.
Lack of consistency
Those doctor-patient relationships also are not as consistent as they used to be. Many patients change doctors frequently. They do not expect continuity during the care process. How invested can a doctor get when a patient shows up, leaves in a short span of time, and the doctor never sees them again? This can make them feel cynical and they never get full closure.
At the end of the day, all of these challenges can create a lack of enthusiasm for the job that they do. Doctors do not feel like it is all that important, they do not feel connected to their patients and they do not feel excited. They lack the satisfaction that they crave.
When this causes burnout and a doctor then offers substandard care to a patient, it is important for that patient to know all of their legal options.