February 14, 2019
Topics in Healthcare
“Being a Physician”
Imagine walking into your doctor’s office, in hope that you can burden all your stress onto his shoulders, but instead you are faced with a merely functioning body, asking you routine questions like a machine and clearly has been exhausted to a point that you question his ability to handle his own problems, let alone yours. Doctors, nowadays being at the epitome of success and dependence, have a lot of responsibilities and expectations that needs to be fulfilled. This system produces a high population of overly-stressed doctors, who often go through an emotional breakdown, find a hard time balancing work and personal life and no longer feel like their work is worthy or satisfactory. Such physical and emotional exhaustion observed in modern doctors almost seems like they are programmed to burn out. Even though most doctors can perfectly hide their exhaustion in the shadows of their smiles and perhaps conceal their lack of rest and sleep with glasses, they are often faced with extreme stress that even makes them consider suicide as an option; an escape from the horror.
Doctors often experience above threshold levels of stress compared to other jobs in the service industry and therefore experience burnout at significantly higher burnout rates and lower life satisfaction rates. This problem can be difficult for doctors to cope with, as they are not able to recover from being emotionally drained and depleted by work, even in their time off. Such extreme burnout is caused by many factors that build up through the daily work life in a doctor’s life. For instance, doctors are always around sick people all day long. Even though they are trained to thrive at such environments, it is mentally exhausting to be surrounded by diseases, pain and sadness such that the little happiness in seeing a recovering patient almost can seem non-existent. They are often behind schedule and are faced with a constant pressure to perform their role in the society at full steam. In fact, most doctors that we come across in hospitals are usually running or speed walking to places, like they are at a constant race, except the race is not with other people, but with their own work schedule. They tend to work long hours, filled with strenuous activity that often makes them feel like they are on duty, even when they are not. This therefore makes non-work time feel less relaxing and tend to contribute to an experience of chronic stress. Doctors also often find themselves having to be a perfectionist, for their work is always at high stake, and a small margin of error and high level of consequence for imperfection can lead to intensified stress and anxiety. This profession is programmed in a way that physicians believe they should be self-reliable and dependable. Many often avoid the idea of even talking to their colleagues about the stress, out of fear of professional or personal implications or that it might...