Burnout is not new to the healthcare field. COVID19 simply put a spotlight on burnout. This research from 2017 provides a great perspective on the issue:
Given this sobering introduction, it might be attractive to change the title of Willie Nelson’s famous song to “Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be doctors.” In the pages that follow, we will provide a brief overview of the current state of this problem and its implications for both safety and quality. More importantly, we will also make suggestions that we hope will help you, personally, find protection, recovery, and, quite possibly, renewal for your dreams.
Physician distress is not a “new” problem. Articles describing “burnout” among physicians, nurses, and even hospital administrators began appearing in the late 1970s [1–4]. A quick search of medical database publications indicates that the appearance of literature related to burnout is doubling every decade.
Although there were only a handful (less than 100) of articles on burnout in the 1970s, there were close to 1000 (776) in the 1980s; over 2000 in the 1990s (2041); and over 4000 (4092) in the first decade of this century and halfway through the current decade there have been 3418 referenced papers related simply to burnout—predicting over 7000 publications on burnout alone in the decade between 2011 and 2020. If the search is expanded to include topic titles such as depression, suicide, marital distress, compassion fatigue, and substance abuse among physicians, and even the more hopeful title of wellness, the amount of published material is overwhelming. This has become an issue of global warming proportions!