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New charter aimed at helping physicians avoid, manage burnout

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Rochester, MN — A consortium of medical groups has published a framework intended to minimize and manage burnout among U.S. physicians.

More than half of physicians report experiencing dissatisfaction, high rates of depression and increased suicide risk, according to the Mayo Clinic, which is part of the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine. The consortium brings together medical educators, leaders at academic medical centers, and experts in burnout research and interventions designed to promote learner wellness.

The Charter on Physician Well-Being, released in March, states that governing bodies, policy-makers, medical organizations and individual physicians should commit to:

  • Fostering a trustworthy and supportive culture in medicine
  • Advocating for policies that enhance well-being
  • Building supportive systems
  • Developing engaged leadership
  • Optimizing highly functioning interprofessional teams
  • Anticipating and responding to inherent emotional challenges of physician work
  • Prioritizing mental health care
  • Practicing and promoting self-care

“Physicians should not be alone in managing burnout,” said Colin West, M.D., Ph.D., researcher at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the charter. “It is a responsibility shared between individuals and the organizations in which they practice. Leaders must be engaged and responsive to these problems by creating a supportive culture that minimizes stigma and promotes a positive workplace.”

The charter was published online March 29 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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