Doc­tors in Nova Sco­tia feel­ing burnout, sur­vey finds

Metro Canada (Halifax) - - NEWS -

Sur­vey re­sults from the pro­fes­sional as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing doc­tors in Nova Sco­tia show that a ma­jor­ity of physi­cians in the prov­ince are feel­ing burned out.

In a news re­lease, Doc­tors Nova Sco­tia said the sur­vey, con­ducted by Dr. Michael Leiter and the Cen­tre for Or­ga­ni­za­tional Re­search and De­vel­op­ment at Aca­dia Univer­sity, stud­ied “the work-life is­sues fac­ing Nova Sco­tia physi­cians.”

Of the 372 doc­tors sur­veyed, Doc­tors Nova Sco­tia said 70 per cent re­ported “feel­ing overex­tended, dis­en­gaged, in­ef­fec­tive and/or fully burned out,” 50 per cent re­ported symp­toms of burnout, and an­other 20 per cent were feel­ing in­ef­fec­tive.

“Stud­ies in­di­cate that burnout in­ter­feres with physi­cians’ abil­ity to do their work, with neg­a­tive con­se­quences for qual­ity of care, pa­tient safety and pa­tient sat­is­fac­tion,” the re­lease said.

“They also re­port that burned out doc­tors de­vote less time to pro­vid­ing clin­i­cal care to their pa­tients.”

The re­lease said Leiter’s re­search showed burnout is “sys­temic and re­lated to the ba­sic or­ga­ni­za­tions of work,” and con­tribut­ing fac­tors in­cluded “ad­min­is­tra­tive has­sles, fi­nan­cial con­cerns, un­com­pen­sated work, billing prob­lems and con­straints on physi­cian au­ton­omy.”

Leiter said the key to im­prov­ing burnout is im­prov­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween doc­tors and the provincial health de­part­ment and the Nova Sco­tia Health Author­ity, and 30 per cent of doc­tors sur­veyed said they felt “a lack of re­spect for their pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise and au­ton­omy from gov­ern­ment.”

Doc­tors Nova Sco­tia said it will work to­wards im­prov­ing that re­la­tion­ship, and will pro­vide more sup­port for doc­tors, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives in each zone of the prov­ince.

TORSTAR News Ser­vice

About 372 doc­tors in Nova Sco­tia were sur­veyed on work­life is­sues.

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