Doctors are exposed to high levels of stress in the course of their profession and are particularly susceptible to experiencing burnout. Burnout has far-reaching implications on doctors; patients and the healthcare system. Doctors experiencing burnout are reported to be at a higher risk of making poor decisions; display hostile attitude toward patients; make more medical errors; and have difficult relationships with co-workers. Burnout among doctors also increases risk of depression; anxiety; sleep disturbances; fatigue; alcohol and drug misuse; marital dysfunction; premature retirement and perhaps most seriously suicide. Sources of stress in medical practice may range from the emotions arising in the context of patient care to the environment in which doctors practice. The extent of burnout may vary depending on the practice setting; speciality and changing work environment. Understanding dynamic risk factors associated with burnout may help us develop strategies for preventing and treating burnout. Some of these strategies will be reviewed in this paper.
Keywords: burnout; compassion fatigue; resilience; work engagement; workplace stress.