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Physician Burnout: The Role Of Lifestyle Medicine

J. Rippe
Published 2021 · Medicine

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In the current issue of American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM), we are pleased to publish 2 articles related to the increasing problem of physician and other health care professionals’ burnout. The issue of burnout has become a very important topic throughout all of health care. Numerous articles have appeared about this issue both for physicians and other members of the health care team over the past 5 years. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic may have made matters even worse, particularly for frontline physicians and nurses. However, paradoxically, these selfless and courageous workers have also been lauded for immediately rising to the challenge of the epidemic, despite the overwhelming workload and potential dangers that could contribute to burnout. As both articles in the current issue of AJLM point out, burnout is not a concept that has only emerged over the past few years. It has been around since at least the late 1960s. It is interesting to note that burnout was being described as far back as the 1960s and 1970s. It has been speculated that these decades were another period of time when the idealism of young people clashed with barriers and circumstances that surrounded them—most prominently in that period of time, the Vietnam War. At its root, burnout results from a clash between the ideals that people possess, including what many of them have described as a “calling” to enter the medical field, and frustration from what they actually experience. Even though burnout seems very prevalent (some estimates have concluded that 40%-50% of physicians are experiencing at least some components of burnout), there are some hopeful signs as well. For example, the area of physician wellness has
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