Physician wellness in South Africa: ‘Where are we going? And if we get there, will there be a place to park?’
In 2009, a survey of 7 905 surgeons in America noted that 40% had signs of burnout, 30% depression, 20% a mental quality of life score >0.5 SD below the population mean, and 7% suicidal ideation.1 Professional burnout is a syndrome characterised by loss of enthusiasm for work, depersonalisation and a low sense of personal accomplishment.2 The hallmarks include emotional and physical exhaustion, as well as feelings of cynicism, guilt and ineffectiveness. Sounding familiar? I am not surprised.