Med School Burnout

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/he...n10-30.html?em

    I thought of the difficulties nursing students have that are so similar to the feelings discussed.
    Hacker, SuesquatchRN, and BBFRN like this.

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  2. 11 Comments...

  3. 4
    Unfortunately for nurses, the same dynamics & risk for burnout carries over, and can continue after graduation, spilling over into the workplace.
    JB2007, SuesquatchRN, aknottedyarn, and 1 other like this.
  4. 13
    Quote from BBFRN
    Unfortunately for nurses, the same dynamics & risk for burnout carries over, and can continue after graduation, spilling over into the workplace.
    Oh my gosh, I was just thinking the same thing. It is about powerlessness. Once a medical student becomes a doctor the parameters change. They are empowered, they are in control. A nurse is highly likely to experience the same level of powerlessness after graduation as she/he experienced as a student, it may even get worse. Doctors have tons of responsibility but they also have a lot of control. A nurse frequently has all responsibility and little or no control. A lot of this powerlessness stems from the fact that institutions have a vested interest in keeping nurses under their thumb. Oppressed and silent workers do not rock the boat, they do not ask for higher wages or complain about conditions. People who play along rise up the ladder, once up there they have a vested interest in perpetuating the conditions that cause the powerlessness. Of course in the end it is about money.
    lananp, Hacker, Crux1024, and 10 others like this.
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    Oramar, as per usual, you hit the nail on the head.
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    Not the same for doctors as for nurses. As Oramar said, nurses have responsibility, but no power to change things. Doctors have a lot of power along with the responsibility. The current system sets up nurses to experience burnout in the workplace, for a variety of reasons mostly related to the bottom dollar.
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    Despite the power doctors have, I think they are chronically sleep-deprived. Also, having to answer to insurers and practice managers makes their lives unpleasant.

    Since the captain of the ship view has largely sunk, doctors find they must be more collegial. A lot of them hate that.

    They have plenty of stress. But at least they get paid well and have respect and prestige to make up for it.
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    As someone in medical school- I think that burnout is largely related to poor treatment and hours. I was required to average 100+ hours per week during one rotation and had to sneak off the floor where I was working to get to the cafeteria to eat as I was required to remain on that floor for 8+ hours straight with no breaks and no chance to eat. I had to work 30+ hours at a stretch at one point.

    I'm a little over half way through and 150,000 in debt.

    I love most parts of school, but I'm not sure if it's fully realized how badly medical students can be treated. It's not ALL rotations, but I had the pleasure of one bad 5 week rotation as described previously and I feel like I was permanently changed.

    I'm not sure if nursing students are treated so badly. I hope that you guys are not!!

    At the same time I can see how it might be frustrating to be a nurse. As a student I was approached by a nurse that one of my patients was having an issue- and she said, Do you think she needs some lasix and a chest x ray? I said I had no idea and went to the resident, informed him of the situation and said that the nurse suggested lasix and a chest x ray.

    He put the order in the computer. And the patient got lasix and a chest x ray. I could see how it might be frustrating. This nurse was much older than me and had way more experience. But she basically had to channel her suggestion through the medical student/ resident side of things to get the order actually put in the computer.
    lananp, Hacker, ERNurse752, and 5 others like this.
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    When I initially posted this I was thinking in terms of the difficulty in getting into a nursing program and the ongoing education that is probably three times what I had to understand in order to graduate. The pressure to understand so much and still have to succeed in all the other classes is difficult to say the least.

    Nurses then continue in a field that gives them great responsibility for the lives of patients while the MD comes and goes. They have almost no authority to go with that responsibility. This certainly is a set up for burnout.

    In the far distant past nurses were caregivers. They cared for the sick and injured. Rarely did they have the patients with the critical, multi- system problems we see now. Those patients died. There was little to be done to turn the problems around. Now these patients are the norm. Education of the nurse to know what is happening is of little use or comfort when we don't have enough nurses working at one time to allow adequate care. The problem is not always lack of nurses, it is lack of nurses hired to do the work.

    I honor the newer nurses and those of us who have been around since the dinosaurs. We need to work together for change. We need more highly educated nurses at the bedside rather than to be placed in offices where policy is decided without understanding the implications at the bedside level.

    Recognition and labeling are the first steps to change. The next require a more concerted effort to make others aware. Unions and legislation are two routes we can use to effect change that may decrease the burnout. Mandatory OT is one area that can be addressed from either or both of these avenues. We know that lack of sleep is a killer in so many ways.

    Burnout is also related to comparing where the money is spent. Sell the fancy artwork in the upper management offices and more nurses could be hired to carry the burden of the health care needs of our patients.
    JB2007, SuesquatchRN, and BBFRN like this.
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    As a new grad nurse, I would like to say that I do not think nursing students are treated poorly during school. Yes, I had my fair share of patients that treated me poorly; but during nursing school I primarily felt my fellow nursing school students, instructors, and preceptors treated me far worse than any other health professional, patient or family.

    Now after working for four months, I have found that I was living in a sheltered world in nursing school. Those patients and families that were so kind and respectful now treat me like I am their servant. The doctors who I never really had to address during nursing school, treat me pretty much the same way as the patients. As far as the nurses, well, just like in school they like to eat their young. There always are exceptions like the doctor who after I started having a breakdown (long story), said he'd take care of the issue and then ordered me to go take a break. Unfortuneatly those types are hard to find.

    Perhaps this is not the case, but it seems as though doctors get treated like complete crap during their education and training but that eventually improves. That is the impression I got from the article. Each day I have been in nursing, the conditions seem to get worse and worse. The difference I see is that nurses get treated better in their training than while working so you get a false sense of security with the field. Nursing isn't limited to the four year period of hell that the article mentioned. It can go on forever if we let it.

    Looking back, I wish nursing education would be more like the hell that a doctor goes through. Maybe I wouldn't be sitting here looking at college majors because I feel like I wasted five years of my life to have a job where I emotionally and physically drained to the point were I cannot enjoy my days off. I hate going to bed at night crying because I have to work the next day. At least when I was a waitress, I made more being a servant and I didn't rack up 40K in debt. Yes that's right, I made more....I make 18.1/hr in a hospital.

    I would like to say, that it is refreshing to hear that a med student realizes how it might be frustrating for a nurse to go through all the hoops that we have to for an order. Although, at this stage in my career, I do not know all the typical things that are done for each situation like a seasoned nurse may so I do not really have that problem. Bottom line is, I wish more doctors/med students would put themselves in nurses shoes and for that matter nurses do the same. Maybe we all would get along a bit better by learning what we all have to go through.
    lananp, JB2007, and SuesquatchRN like this.
  11. 3
    Quote from Vito Andolini
    Despite the power doctors have, I think they are chronically sleep-deprived. Also, having to answer to insurers and practice managers makes their lives unpleasant.

    Since the captain of the ship view has largely sunk, doctors find they must be more collegial. A lot of them hate that.

    They have plenty of stress. But at least they get paid well and have respect and prestige to make up for it.
    Yes I was thinking about that. The amount of autonomy that MDs have is decreasing everyday. I personally have witnessed the dissatisfaction going up as the autonomy goes down. However, they got a way to go before they get as oppressed as nurses.
    JB2007, Jo Dirt, and aknottedyarn like this.


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