Burnout has long been a huge source of concern throughout the health care profession. Long hours, stressful situations, and limited support leave doctors and nurses scrambling to keep their patients safe. Over time, this takes a toll, leaving health care workers not only physically exhausted, but also, susceptible to mental health problems.
Unfortunately, burnout harms not only medical professionals, but also, the patients they treat. Stressed, tired, and preoccupied, health care workers may make mistakes during simple procedures that, under ordinary circumstances, would not cause problems. The following concerns are especially alarming:
Nurses, PAs, and other health care workers are charged with keeping comprehensive notes about your care and your medical history. A single letter or number out of place can completely change the meaning of these records, as well as the treatment protocol they prompt. Unfortunately, exhausted health care employees are prone to typos and transcription mistakes.
Prescriptions have long been at the heart of a huge subset of medical malpractice cases. These could involve prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. Even when medications are prescribed accurately, they can be administered improperly to patients staying in hospitals or long-term care facilities.
Delayed or Missed Diagnosis
Attention to detail is crucial in the medical profession, but it’s one of the first qualities to go missing when employees suffer burnout. As a result, they may struggle to observe key signs and symptoms of worrisome conditions. Similarly, they might not pay enough attention as you report symptoms you’ve noticed at home. If they do notice anything off, they should seek additional lab tests or refer you to a specialist; if they don’t, you could see significant delays in diagnosis and treatment.