Wounded Healers: Medical Mistakes Stress Physicians
> 7/19/2007 1:54:48 PM

According to results of a new study published in the August edition of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, medical errors made by physicians are often times the cause and result of sleep deprivation as well as a loss of confidence, and they can increase negative effects of an already stress filled profession.

The study, performed at Washington University, surveyed 3,171 doctors in Canada, St. Louis and Chicago. The physicians were questioned on the frequency of their mistakes and the results of the mistakes. The doctors responded by mail or email and the results showed that the vast majority of them had been involved in some kind of medical mistake (ranging from minor to serious), which jeopardized patient care.

Additional data revealed that an overwhelming 61% of doctors reported anxiety following their mistakes and increased stress over possible future mistakes. 44% reported a drop in the level of their confidence while 42% felt as if they had lost satisfaction in their job all together. Shockingly, the report also found that only 10 percent of participants reported hospitals having resources in place for stress related to on the job errors.

Lead researcher, Amy Waterman weighed in with the AP and stressed the importance of helping doctors deal with the stress associated with physician errors. Waterman said stress related to medical errors can potentially cause some doctors, prone to depression, to make additional mistakes or resign from their position.

Dr. Donald Berwick, a Harvard professor who runs the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, also voiced his views as quoted by the AP and said that he felt hospitals were adopting more programs in trying to help doctors discuss their problems and work through them. He also discussed the fear of legal action as a factor that dissuades many doctors from discussing their mistakes, furthermore seeking help. Berwick also feels that doctors need more optimism to effectively treat patients and without the availability of resources, the amount of errors will increase. He concluded, "Who wants a wounded healer?"

This new evidence regarding the stress that doctors face and the effect that it can have on their performance should lead to a greater understanding of the amount and type of support that doctors need to do their jobs. Often care givers can be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of providing treatment, but if we are do avoided "wounded healers," we need to start taking care of physicians mental health too.


This post makes sense. I think the same thing is true for most professions that require a great amount of responsibility. Most professionals consider their work to be serious business and become disappointed, worried and doubtfull when they make a human mistake.
URL: http://ocdonastick.blogspot.com/
Posted by: OCD On A Stick 7/20/2007 8:23:27 AM

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