New research on doctors' workplace well-being, led by Professor Blánaid Hayes, Immediate Past Dean of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine, has been published in BMJ Open.
The study entitled Doctors don’t Do-little: A national cross-sectional study of workplace well-being of hospital doctors in Ireland found that hospital doctors across all grades in Ireland have low levels of work-life balance and high levels of work stress. Almost one-third of respondents were experiencing burn-out and 50% of doctors reported being emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed by work.
The study is the first national survey conducted on a cohort of hospital doctors working within the same health system in Ireland.
1,749 doctors completed workplace well-being questionnaires as part of this study. The 55% response rate is considered high in this population, where response rates tend to be low and are declining.
You can read the full study here https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e025433
Professor Blánaid Hayes, lead author on the paper, said, "These results give great cause for concern. 50% of doctors reported being emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed by work, which is higher than in hospital doctors from the UK, the USA and Australia. There is a need critically to review the working conditions of hospital doctors in Ireland.
"Surprisingly, in a milieu where evidence is the key driver of patient treatment, the evidence on the relationship between workplace psychosocial environment and employee health is paid little attention by those who fund and manage healthcare organisations. It is buried under the constant refrain of ‘putting the patient first’ with little regard for those who are instrumental in providing care.
"When work poses excessive demands with little control and support, its impact on both physical and mental health can be negative, leading to stress-related disorders, depression and other common mental health issues."
Professor Mary Horgan, President, said, "This study provides critical information on levels of burn-out and other indices of workplace well-being in hospital doctors in Ireland following a period of substantial cutbacks in health expenditure and workforce depletion.
"The College is committed to supporting physician wellbeing. We will continue to pursue innovative approaches to support the health of doctors and raise awareness of the importance of caring for the care givers. We are grateful to all the doctors who took time to complete the survey and share with us their insight and experience.
"I would also like to thank the study’s authors Professor Blánaid Hayes, Occupational Health Department, Beaumont Hospital, Lucia Prihodova, Manager RCPI Research Department, Gillian Walsh, former manager RCPI Research Department, Frank Doyle, Department of Psychology, Division of Population and Health Sciences, RCSI, Sally Doherty, Department of Psychology, Division of Population and Health Sciences, RCSI, for their important contribution to the growing evidence base for physician wellbeing."
If you are concerned about your wellbeing, there is advice and guidance on physician wellbeing for doctors at all stages of their careers on our website here.