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The current narrative on healthcare burnout is just plain wrong

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No matter how many well-earned bonuses, vacations, massages, or wellness apps are offered to employees, if they step into a damaging environment every day, nothing will meaningfully change. We must definitively and mercilessly confront the oppressive systems and circumstances in which they work.

We see the headlines every day: healthcare workers are burned out, dissatisfied and leaving the workforce . Surveys show this is currently the number one issue on the minds of hospital CEOs. Staffing shortages negatively affect patient safety and the bottom line. In response, health systems and hospitals are scrambling to provide better compensation , offering days off, establishing wellness programs and encouraging workers to meditate, keep gratitude journals, exercise, eat well, sleep better and seek professional mental health support to cope with stress. Let’s pause right here. We must awaken. While these actions are noble and may provide modest relief, we are ignoring the forest fire raging all around us.

The current narrative, commentary and even research on burnout is almost entirely focused on “resilience” and “well-being.” The solutions being put in place inherently define the problem as residing within the individual person. In other words, the approach has largely been to fortify every healthcare […]

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