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Lucien Engelen: Who Takes Care of Doctors and Nurses?

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It’s been almost three years since I first addressed the fact that more and more doctors and medical students are getting negative about their work. In a second blog I focused on the same matter (maybe even worse back then), which I named “Trapped between two worlds“, and focused a bit more on the students.

After a story in the New York Times about a study done in 2010, a few days ago another study reconfirmed the same. Recently a study of 13.000 physicians showed that two-thirds of them feel negatively about their profession. And as Danielle Ofri (MD, PhD) points out in her article:

American doctors spend more than 22% of their time on nonclinical paperwork. That’s the equivalent of 165,000 doctors idling with busy work instead of seeing patients….”

This all coincides this week with an interview of one of my colleagues, Prof van Laarhoven, who told me that only 20% of a nurse’s shift is “quality-time” with their patients interacting other than interventions, doing registration etc. The number actually shocked me.

For now I do not have the solution, but clearly this is a ticking time-bomb that needs to be dismantled. Starting to talk and maybe more importantly starting to ASK about it and LISTEN, might be the first step.

After all medical professionals should first take care of themselves to be able to help others. It’s just like the safety instructions in an airplane, isn’t it?

What’s your take on this ?

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Also related to this topic:

  1. “Trapped in two worlds”
  2. Compassion fatigue is a call to action
  3. How stressed is your doctor
  4. Is healthcare about to “go the way the of the Dodo”?

Photo Credit : Martin Barraud

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