This fifth article in our series focuses on burnout in practicing pediatric emergency medicine physicians. As opposed to a general review of burnout, we address understudied and undervalued risk factors, drivers, and individual- and organizational-level solutions applicable to the emergency medicine workplace.
Conflicting studies impact our understanding of the prevalence of burnout in our field and the role of depression. This article's story is anonymously submitted and leads us to our discussion of the heightened risk of burnout in underrepresented physicians, those who identify themselves as women, as belonging to a racial, ethnic, gender and/or sexual minority group, and/or as having a physical and/or sensory disability.
Thus far, our articles have described coping tools for individuals and health care organizations to prevent and/or mitigate the untoward effects of life-changing stressors on a pediatric emergency physician's life. They include staying healthy and active, cultivating outside interests, and nurturing relationships with peers, friends, and family. We have shared the techniques and benefits of constructive engagement when one is faced with challenging events or individuals. We have underscored the value of peer support, support groups, emotional debriefing, and engaging with outside organizations able to address specific stressors. We have introduced the practice of political engagement as a way of addressing systems-level pressures. Throughout this series, we have emphasized the need to ask for help from family, friends, peers, primary care providers, and mental health professionals. This article describes the benefits of Employee Assistance Programs, Physician Wellness Programs, positive psychology, and grounding behaviors as self-care strategies.