Why are physicians burning out in the US

The demand for health care professionals has steadily increased for some time and is showing no signs of slowing down, this is because of the population constantly growing, life expectancy rising and the aging population is causing this demand for healthcare to increase in intensity. As well as a severe shortage of these healthcare professionals in comparison to the amount of care needed, we are seeing a burnout in the professionals we do have. This is due to the immensely stressful, tasking working environment and everyday life that these healthcare professionals are exposed to. The infrequent routine, constant change of work hours and changes from day to night shifts all put a huge strain on the body and mental health causing this rise in physician burnout that we are seeing.

Hospitals and clinics are not the only places we are seeing this problem arise in staff shortage in nursing homes is on the rise and it is having frightening consequences. A recent study showed that nursing homes have seen an increase in mortality rates by 13% in their older patients which is both shocking and is a clear sign that they are understaffed and in serious need of more support to accommodate the intensity of looking after elderly patients.

A study undertaken in 2017 by AAMC revealed that a physician shortage of over 104,900 could be in the foreseeable future for the United States by 2030.

This is clearly due to the fact that professionals are hugely outnumbered in comparison to the number of patients they take care of meaning they are overworked, incredibly stressed and consequently, this is taxing on their lives, causing them to burnout as well as individuals wanting to get out of the profession. So as well as currently plaguing our present time, the problem the healthcare industry faces shows no sign of slowing down, indicating that staff shortage and the problems that arise from this are only going to get worse.

Staff shortages in nursing homes are particularly intensive as the demand for care that an elderly individual needs are far greater than someone of a younger age. They require much more time and attention and with patients far outnumbering the amount of staff at these homes it is no surprise that patients aren’t receiving the care they innately need. Elderly patients can often have problems with cognitive abilities and memories meaning that they cannot articulate when there is a problem or if they need extra help, whether this is to family members that are visiting or the staff at the nursing home. This means that physicians and nurses have to put even more extra time and effort into the check-up to make sure everything is as it should be and take greater care not to miss anything, as problems can quickly spiral for an elderly patient. An example of this is simple bedsore or some sort of wound that can quickly become infected and develop into sepsis which is a life-threatening condition for any elderly patient and has a mortality rate of 50 percent.