One in five young doctors struggling with burnout

The number of young doctors in the Netherlands struggling with burnout symptoms increased significantly over the past two years, according to a quickscan study by care providers' organization VvAA. Currently 20 percent of doctors under the age of 35 have burnout symptoms, compared to 13 percent two years ago, the Volkskrant reports.

At 20 percent with burnout symptoms, young doctors score far worse than the national average of 15 percent and their older colleagues at 11 percent. 

“This research confirms earlier findings on how much the youngest generation of doctors worry”, 31-year-old Thomas Schok, board member of the VvAA and surgeon in training, said to the Volkskrant. “That doesn't surprise me, I experience it every day. We really have to do something about this.”

Part of the problem is that the work pressure on young care providers increased rapidly over the past two years, according to Schok. This mainly has to do with shortages on the labor market. More doctors working part-time is also a problem. 

Another factor is that a new generation is starting to dominate the workplace, and their private situation differs from the earlier generations. “The old surgical boss had a wife at home who cooked the food and took care of the children,'' Schok said. Young doctors have partners who also work, which means the doctors have to pick up more slack at home. 

The researchers also found that only a third of care providers think they’ll stick with their current profession until retirement. And only half would recommend working in healthcare to others. 

Those are worrying conclusions, Wilmar Schauferli, professor of occupational psychology at Utrecht University, who carried out the research, said to the newspaper. “We are already in short supply. How will we continue if these doctors do not even recommend their work to their children?”

 

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