Burnout Among Physicians: A System Issue

By BurnoutNo Comments

The prevalence of physician distress has been well documented in recent years, and data suggests that 44% of U.S. physicians experience symptoms of burnout.

A recent study titled, “Resilience and Burnout Among Physicians and the General US Working Population,” published in JAMA Network Open — a journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) — evaluated resilience among physicians and how it compared with resilience among other U.S. workers. The study also measured burnout symptoms to analyze the association between resilience and burnout among physicians. Read More

The Time Has Come to Bring Physician Wellness to the Forefront of Our Profession

By Burnout, Health, Work-Life BalanceNo Comments

I chose to be a neurosurgeon because I sought a life bringing healing to those with neurological diseases. After completing my training with a tremendous sense of pride, I was prepared to have an impact on patients and families in their time of greatest need and hopelessness. I ended each day with the knowledge that I had given my all. Like many others, I ignored fatigue and underestimated the accumulated trauma of occasions where I gave all I had, but the patient’s disease won. My blessings were my family, my resolve and my mission. Read More

Physician Burnout in Neurosurgery: An Under-Recognized Phenomenon

By Burnout, Health, Work-Life BalanceNo Comments

As conversations about work-life balance are becoming more prevalent, and given the stresses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in the issue of physician burnout. Burnout is a long-term stress reaction marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and a lack of sense of personal accomplishment. In recent years, the rising prevalence of burnout among clinicians — more than 50 percent according to a Medscape report — has led to probing questions on how it affects access to care, patient safety and care quality. Burned-out physicians are more likely to leave their practices or the practice of medicine altogether, which reduces patients’ access to and continuity of care. Burnout can also threaten patient safety and care quality when depersonalization leads to poor interactions with patients, and when burned-out physicians suffer from impaired attention, memory and executive function. Read More

Lasting Change: Assessing the Potential Long Term Impact of COVID-19

By COVID-19, HealthNo Comments

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Associate Justice, U.S. Supreme Court

The economic, medical, political and psychological tsunami unleashed by the COVID-19 virus is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime. The traumatic disruption of 9-11 was limited in comparison to our current crisis. While impossible to include up to the minute statistics, already more than 15 million cases have been confirmed with at least 620,000 deaths, and U.S. unemployment is approximately 11%. Is it possible that any good will come of these months of tragedy and lock-down? What do we know about the immediate and longer-term consequences on us as humans, on the health care community and neurosurgery? I have been given the monumental task of trying to peer into that future as the Neurosurgery Blog’s focus on COVID-19 draws to a close. Read More

Aerosolization, Endonasal Surgery and the Neurosurgeon

By COVID-19, HealthNo Comments

Neurosurgeons never stop learning. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, previously obscure terms such as airflow and aerosolization — the dispersal of a substance such as medicine or viral particles in the form of an aerosol — have entered our regular lexicon. We can now readily identify which of our operating rooms has the highest airflow — usually the smallest room — and the standard for the minimum number of air exchanges per hour, which is at least 15. Read More