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Natural remedies help to deter physician burnout

Harold Mandel's picture
A hard working physician

Researchers at Mayo Clinic have identified effective natural interventions to help deter physician burnout.


Physician burnout is a serious problem which can jeopardize the quality of care provided for patients and the careers of physicians. Clearly addressing physician burnout with effective natural remedies is a worthwhile pursuit.

Greater than 50 percent of American doctors are experiencing burnout

Mayo Clinic has reported researchers have identified effective interventions to deal with the problem of physician burnout. This is very significant in view of the realization that greater than 50 percent of American doctors are feeling the effects of burnout.

The natural solutions identified by Mayo Clinic researchers are effective to help prevent or lessen physician burnout around the world. Lead author Colin West, M.D., Ph.D. says the researchers compared how effective the interventions were across a range of burnout outcomes. It has been concluded that individual strategies along with structured organizational approaches are often effective in realizing decreases in physician burnout which are clinically meaningful.

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Individual-focused strategies which have been identified as being effective include stress management training, mindfulness training, and small group sessions. Organizational changes that seem to be effective include lowering physician duty hours and care delivery process alterations in hospitals and clinics.

Individual-focused strategies and organizational changes seem to be effective

Mayo Clinic has been using some of these individual-focused strategies and organizational changes with positive effects. Group interaction sessions have been included in these approaches. In these sessions physicians meet at a designated monthly lunch gathering where they can talk confidentially with each other about their experiences.

This study has been published in The Lancet. National studies of physicians in training and practicing physicians shows that physician burnout has reached epidemic levels. The consequences are serious for patient care and the care and safety of physicians themselves. This also has consequences for the viability of health-care systems. There is hope that this situation can be improved with both individual-focused and structural or organizational strategies.

Emotional well-being is lacking in the medical profession

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, told MedPage Today in an exclusive interview that emotional well-being is sorely lacking in the medical profession. He has expressed concern about the high suicide and burnout rate among physicians. This undermines the health care needs of the nation.

Dr Murphy says he is very interested in how to cultivate emotional well-being for physicians. It's hard for physicians to heal people effectively if they themselves are not well. Although many people think emotional well-being is something that simply happens to you Dr Murphy takes the position that a growing body of science that tells us there are many things which we can do to help proactively develop our emotional well-being. This can in turn have a positive impact on our health. In the best interest of the well-being of physicians and patients alike it is worthwhile to invest heavily in determining ways to effectively combat physician burnout.