New England Journal of Medicine has recently published the article To Care is Human- Collectively Confronting the Clinician- Burnout Crisis. This publication describes the alarming problem of burnout among health care providers.

Burnout generates depression and an increase in the frequency of suicide among staff. Besides the negative impact on health professionals and their families, burnout generates an inefficient system, increasing insafety in patients. There is a strong association between burnout and medical errors, as well as low productivity and increased health costs.

We need an urgent action plan to mitigate this situation, with a coordinated and collective management. There are associations in the United States such as the National Academy of Medicine that are developing action plans to improve this problem in collaboration with more than 80 associations.  The action plans they have been developed are the following:

  • Increasing visibility of burnout
  • Understanding the causes of burnout
  • Increasing staff satisfaction

The most important causes detected have been the excessive workload -mainly administrative-, family conflicts because of work, problems of culture of the organizations and a loss of the sense of work.

We would have to take this example in Iberoamerica: analizing our own data and the possible causes, to start quickly with urgen action plans to reduce burnout and increase satisfaction with our work and working environment. This will be accompanied by improved patient satisfaction, hospital safety, inefficiency, and also the family environment of health care professionals.

There is nothing more human that taking care, alleviating and curing ill people. But if we don´t take care the caregiver, if we don´t understand that our staff need the best conditions to work, develop, having space for dialogue and understanding were the causes of burnout are, we can´t expect quality and eficiency improvements. Only we can expect more burnout, more loss of staff lives and more failures in the family core.

To care is human, but caring the caregive should also be human.

By Nicolás Nin