From Sam - Overworked Doctors: The Evidence is Out There

Recently I came across an article, 'Overworked doctors making mistakes with patients - survey', that just adds more fuel to my fire that it is definitely time for our profession to formally acknowledge the need to as doctors look after ourselves so that we can best look after our patients.

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Just this week the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association (NZRDA) launched its Safer Hours campaign after the New Zealand District Health Boards refused to move from a maximum 7 nights in a row to 4 nights max; and 12 days in a row to a max 10 days in a row.

The following facts are from a recent fatigue survey of resident doctors. All 3600 members of the NZRDA took the survey asking for their experiences over the past year:

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I can relate to these results firsthand. A while ago I was talking to an overworked doctor who had reached the end of her tether; long hours, not feeling appreciated, the stresses of the work itself… she had reached the end of the road.

The week before she had made a decision at the end of a second consecutive 18-hour shift, that had cost a young man his life. She couldn’t forgive herself and not only was she considering leaving the profession, she was considering ending her own life.

But can she be blamed for the patient’s death? After 14 hours of straight work, overworked doctors are operating at a level as if we have drunk six cans of beer. At the end of two consecutive 18-hour shifts we are barely upright, let alone able to make clear decisions. As doctors we’ve all been there, but that doesn’t make it OK.

Because she is not alone; 87% of doctors are stressed beyond levels that are productive, and this leads to depersonalisation, which leads to increases in major medical errors. In the United States doctors are the third highest cause of death, it’s probably the same here too.

And this is directly attributable to the way we are living as overworked doctors; our profession is killing itself and in turn killing our patients.

Enough is enough; no more.

The Declaration of Geneva was created to guide us as a profession. It’s honourable, but not comprehensive because it fails to address the single most important human factor that will allow us to do our jobs well; the need for us as doctors to look after ourselves, so that we look after our patients.

Please take one minute to click here to sign the petition to evolve the Declaration of Geneva to include:

I WILL CARE FOR MYSELF to care for my patients

Click here to sign now and lend your voice to this. Let’s make our profession better for us and for future generations of doctors. As individuals we can’t change it, but together we can make a difference.

Recently I came across an article, 'Overworked doctors making mistakes with patients - survey', that just adds more fuel to my fire that it is definitely time for our profession to formally acknowledge the need to as doctors look after ourselves so that we can best look after our patients.

Capture.JPG

Just this week the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association (NZRDA) launched its Safer Hours campaign after the New Zealand District Health Boards refused to move from a maximum 7 nights in a row to 4 nights max; and 12 days in a row to a max 10 days in a row.

The following facts are from a recent fatigue survey of resident doctors. All 3600 members of the NZRDA took the survey asking for their experiences over the past year:

Sapture.JPG

I can relate to these results firsthand. A while ago I was talking to an overworked doctor who had reached the end of her tether; long hours, not feeling appreciated, the stresses of the work itself… she had reached the end of the road.

The week before she had made a decision at the end of a second consecutive 18-hour shift, that had cost a young man his life. She couldn’t forgive herself and not only was she considering leaving the profession, she was considering ending her own life.

But can she be blamed for the patient’s death? After 14 hours of straight work, overworked doctors are operating at a level as if we have drunk six cans of beer. At the end of two consecutive 18-hour shifts we are barely upright, let alone able to make clear decisions. As doctors we’ve all been there, but that doesn’t make it OK.

Because she is not alone; 87% of doctors are stressed beyond levels that are productive, and this leads to depersonalisation, which leads to increases in major medical errors. In the United States doctors are the third highest cause of death, it’s probably the same here too.

And this is directly attributable to the way we are living as overworked doctors; our profession is killing itself and in turn killing our patients.

Enough is enough; no more.

The Declaration of Geneva was created to guide us as a profession. It’s honourable, but not comprehensive because it fails to address the single most important human factor that will allow us to do our jobs well; the need for us as doctors to look after ourselves, so that we look after our patients.

Please take one minute to click here to sign the petition to evolve the Declaration of Geneva to include:

I WILL CARE FOR MYSELF to care for my patients

Click here to sign now and lend your voice to this. Let’s make our profession better for us and for future generations of doctors. As individuals we can’t change it, but together we can make a difference.

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  • published this page in MedWorld Blog 2016-08-19 15:11:31 +1200