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Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being


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The changing landscape of the U.S. health care system has had profound effects on clinical practice and the experiences of clinicians, students and trainees (“learners”), and patients and their families. Mounting system pressures have contributed to an imbalance of overwhelming job demands and insufficient job resources for clinicians, causing physical, psychological, and emotional stress, including burnout – a workplace syndrome that is characterized by high emotional exhaustion, high depersonalization (i.e., cynicism), and a low sense of personal accomplishment from work.

The high rates of burnout reported among U.S. clinicians and learners is a strong signal that the nation’s health care system is failing to achieve its aims for system-wide improvement. Improving the U.S. health care system to achieve the goals of better care, improved population health, and lower costs depends in large part on a workforce that is functioning at its highest level. Positive, healthy work and learning environments support the professional well-being that is so essential to the therapeutic alliance among clinicians, patients, and families and the delivery of high-quality care.

Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Supporting Professional Well-Being calls upon leaders in health care organizations and health professions educational institutions as well as within the government and industry to prioritize major improvements in clinical work and learning environments in all settings, and for all disciplines to prevent and mitigate clinician burnout and foster professional well-being for the overall health of clinicians, patients, and the nation.

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