Thom Mayer, MD, FACEP, FAAP, wants emergency physicians to talk more about the danger of physician burnout.
Explore This IssueACEP16 Preview: Vol 35 – No 09a – September 2016
So he’ll dedicate his James D. Mills Jr. Memorial Lecture at ACEP16 to the topic.
“There’s a hidden danger of the burnout phenomenon in what we do,” said Dr. Mayer, executive vice president of EmCare, founder and chief executive officer of BestPractices, Inc., the medical director for the NFL Players Association, and a clinical professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and University of Virginia Schools of Medicine, in Charlottesville, Virginia. “And the curious thing is the better you do it, the more passionately you do your job, the more you’re at risk for burnout.”
Dr. Mayer will deliver his address, “Loving the Job You Have While Creating the Job You Love,” from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17. He will tell emergency physicians they need to recognize what burnout looks like, be it physical exhaustion, professional cynicism leading to detachment or depersonalization, or what Dr. Mayer calls “passion disconnect.”
He will then encourage attendees to proactively deal with burnout with three simple ideas. First, doctors should think about what they like about their jobs and maximize those duties. Second, identify those tasks that are tolerable and don’t allow them to become issues leading to burnout. Third, and perhaps most difficult, “take the things [you] hate and eliminate them to the best extent possible from [your] job.”
“Burnout is the silent epidemic that’s stealing our passion, and we’ve got to stop that silence,” Dr. Mayer added. “We have to talk about diagnosis, which starts with the recognition of it and what it looks like to us and what it looks like to our colleagues. The ability to say, ‘OK, now that we’ve gotten this silent epidemic out in the open, we can understand how we make that diagnosis—just like a diagnosis that we make in the emergency department.’”