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The life of a critical care clinician is anything but stress-free. Far from it, in fact. These clinicians routinely face challenges, both physical and psychological, that test their patience and sanity. Despite that, an unfortunate stigma about stress exists among these professionals, at least according to Colin West, MD, PhD, FACP.
“We have largely been trained to bury our heads in the sand and separate ourselves from those challenges,” West said. “It is considered by many to be a sign of weakness to deal with those issues.”
Stress can lead to burnout, and unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening among clinicians across the United States. According to the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC), up to 45% of critical care clinicians reported symptoms of severe burnout syndrome (BOS), which is “a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” Seventy-one percent of clinicians who specialize in pediatric critical care report symptoms.
The CCSC report found that the high BOS rate can be attributed to: