South African Family Practice

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Approaching burnout

ID Couper


Burnout is a danger faced by many health professionals. As doctors, we often do not realise our vulnerability to stress and our woundedness as healers. This article arose from the author’s personal experience. It outlines some of the reasons that medical practitioners are prone to burnout and discusses the problem of maintaining boundaries with the associated tensions that arise. Early warning signs of burnout are described, such as a loss of direction and focus, irritability, increasingly making mistakes, insecurity and lack of insight. Strategies for avoiding burnout are suggested, including making sure that one accesses the support of key people, cares for oneself physically and clarifies one’s goals.

South African Family Practice Vol. 47(2) 2005: 5-8
AJOL African Journals Online