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Burnout and Resilience

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Vancouver BC - Oct 19, 2011.

burning candleA talk on burnout in doctors at a recent conference in Vancouver provided good information and stimulated further exploration.

During questions the speaker said the prevalence of burnout in doctors is 20 percent and tends to occur in pockets or clusters.

The talk focused on burnout resulting from lack of recognition while caring for others. Although burnout can also result from lack of recognition from colleagues and co-workers, lack of resources, and degree of bureaucracy.

Burnout can also occur in other aspects of our lives besides our work.

Good news from the talk is research shows that when individuals examined their level of burnout and attended to the risk of burnout they were not only able to reduce their current risk but their future risk of burnout continued to remain less and even improved further over time.

Burnout and depression are not the same. Among other things, in burnout while the individual may feel they are less productive their colleagues and co-workers find they are not less productive whereas in depression the decreased productivity is not only felt by the individual but also noticed by others.

Following the talk a web search quickly led to some good resources.

The Four Stages of Burnout. This is a good short overview starting with “The stress doc’s vital lesson of the four R’s (Results, Rewards, Recognition and Relief)”, through to transforming a danger into an opportunity.

Burnout Self-Test from Mind Tools. This test is not statistically validated but may be useful and a good place to see what burnout is about. The original link is no longer valid and the download option is no longer available. A new link to the online test is Burnout Self-Test new link.

While the spreadsheet download option is no longer available to run the test on your own computer attached is a self-scoring pdf questionnaire. The spreadsheet and web form both have the same Burnout Status Levels and descriptions but used different number scales and ranges.

The website also has other useful articles:
Identifying Burnout Pressure Points
How to Avoid Burnout
The Schedule of Recent Experience
Recovering From Burnout
Job Stress Management - Stakeholder Management
Managing Your Support Networks

Burnout can affect everyone not just doctors.

Z. Essak, MD

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BCCFP 23rd Annual Scientific Assembly, Vancouver BC, Oct 15-16, 2011. 

“Physician Burnout: Too Much Empathy or Not Enough?”
Andrew Clarke MD, Executive Director Physician Health Program of BC

The Physician Health Program provides services for physicians and their families and educational programs. The Educational programs include “Peer led group interaction” modules that are Mainpro-C accredited and designed for small groups of 5-8 participants. For more details go to


Self-CareBurnoutSelf-Test.pdf60.35 KB

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