Stress in doctors is a product of the interaction between the demanding nature of their work and their often obsessive, conscientious and committed personalities.
In the face of extremely demanding work, a subjective lack of control and insufficient rewards are powerful sources of stress in doctors.
If demands continue to rise and adjustments are not made, then inevitably a “correction” will occur, which may take the form of “burnout” or physical and/or mental impairment.
Doctors need to reclaim control of their work environment and employers need to recognise the need for doctors to participate in decisions affecting their working lives.
All doctors should be aware of predictors of risk and signals of impairment, as well as available avenues of assistance.
Relevant medical organisations (eg, the Colleges, hospital administrations, and medical defence organisations) need to develop and rehearse effective response pathways for assisting impaired doctors.
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