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Health care workers and well-being: Academy launches ‘action collaborative’

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Washington – With career burnout, depression and suicide among health care workers alarmingly high, the National Academy of Medicine has created an action collaborative of more than 20 medical organizations to address these issues.

As part of the initiative for supporting and improving clinician well-being and resilience, NAM states that it will build a collaborative platform across multiple organizations, including clinician and consumer groups, health care organizations, and policymaking bodies. Organizations taking part include the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Hospital Association and Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

The collaborative is scheduled to start work in January and plans to host public workshops and meetings throughout the year.

Physicians, nurses and other clinicians report high rates of job-related unhappiness and stress, NAM states, and burnout has been linked to a high number of medical errors and higher levels of patient dissatisfaction.

Up to 400 physicians commit suicide every year, which is twice the rate of the general population, according to a study cited by NAM. A second study cited reveals that 24 percent of intensive care nurses and 14 percent of general nurses tested positive for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

“The very people who have devoted their lives to keeping others healthy are at great risk of suffering from work-induced burnout,” James L. Madara, American Medical Association executive vice president and CEO, said in a Dec. 15 press release. “Physician well-being must be a top priority in national discussions on patient care.”

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