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Burnout in medical students and doctors

Does not have a negative effect on patient care or increase patient dissatisfaction

  • By: Marie Dahlin
  • Published: 04 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e2708
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e2708

The concept of burnout was introduced in the late 1970s, mainly in a US context, and was used to describe a negative reaction of workers in client oriented occupations, such as social workers and doctors. In particular, individuals who engaged in idealistic work with people who had substance abuse or heavy social burdens were seen to react with fatigue and negative attitudes towards their clients. The most widely used instrument to measure burnout is the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), which is a questionnaire of 27 items with three subscales.1 According to Maslach, burnout occurs when three criteria are met: high emotional exhaustion, high depersonalisation, and low personal accomplishment. Over time, the burnout reaction has been assumed to affect not only people who work with clients, but all the working population, and revised MBI scales have been introduced, where, for example, the depersonalisation dimension is labelled “cynicism.”

In February this year,

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