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Burnout syndrome among health care professionals: Implications for health care professionals and patients' safety

A.A.G. Chima


Health care delivery systems are desperately in need of quality improvement and cost efficiency despite increasing rates of chronic diseases, co – morbidities, overwhelming workload etc. globally.  To navigate through these challenges, the health care professionals' daily activities are critical to  improved quality of healthcare  delivery. Regrettably, failure of the Health Insurance Schemes to meet its laudable objectives and poor funding of  private and public  health facilities have put enormous pressure on the health care professionals (HCPs); the result of which is burnout among the  HCPs. The HCPs are severally faced with the challenge of empathising with patients who are unable to bear the cost of healthcare. Often,  they pay  the patient's healthcare bill from their pocket to provide emotional and physical care coupled with unconducive work  environment and inadequate  reward system. Furthermore, the HCPs are left with little or no input into the processes and systems in  their work environment leading ultimately  to poor health delivery and compromised patient safety. This article's aim is to examine burnout amongst HCPs and its implication for them and  their patients. The HCPas a patient in need of  health care, relationship between burnout and patient safety, risk factors, diagnosis and  management approaches to burnout will be  explored.  The management approaches that will prevent or ameliorate burnout lies on employers and  employees of health care delivery  services, health care and allied institutions, health care policy makers and health system managers with  health care quality  improvement as the driving force.  Finally, it must be noted that burnout syndrome is prevalent across all health care  professionals and health care settings and have been  shown to impair health care providers' capacity to ensure safe practices and detect emerging  patient safety threats.