Survey links burnout, surgical errors
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 7, 2009
Surgeons who are stressed are more likely to make medical errors, according to an Annals of Surgery study.
Four in 10 surgeons surveyed said they were burned out, as measured by questions about emotional exhaustion, personal accomplishment and attitudes toward patients. Nine percent of all surveyed said they had made a serious error in the previous three months. Each one-point increase on a scale measuring burnout was associated with a 5% higher chance of reporting an error. The national survey of 7,905 surgeons, published online Nov. 19, was commissioned in June 2008 by the American College of Surgeons. (link)
Researchers said reducing surgeons' work hours would not improve safety if the mental health effects of burnout go unaddressed.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2009/12/07/prbf1207.htm.