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Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 2239–2241 | Cite as

Psychological burnout and critical care medicine: big threat, big opportunity

  • Laura HawryluckEmail author
  • Peter G. Brindley
Understanding the Disease
While you are likely proud to be a critical care medicine (CCM) practitioner, does work routinely leave you increasingly drained? Do you feel resentful about requests for “futile interventions” and unwilling to absorb others’ anger and grief? Has your job made you feel chronically disconnected, disenchanted and devalued? If so, then—like these two authors and many of your colleagues—you are at risk for burnout syndrome (BOS). Fortunately, this condition need not be terminal. While BOS often waxes and wanes, long-term resilience requires sustained effort at the individual, team and system level. This article aims to spur reflection, and offer putative solutions (Table  1). We also wish to normalize the conversation: BOS does not just affect “wimps”, and can no longer be ignored.
Table 1

Ten BOS questions to facilitate reflection and improvements

1. How can we normalize conversations about BOS and resilience?

2. Can you identify team members who are increasingly angry or increasingly...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Critical Care MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Physician Lead Critical Care Rapid Response TeamToronto Western HospitalTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Corporate Chair Acute Resuscitation CommitteeUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Critical Care MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  5. 5.AnesthesiologyUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  6. 6.Dosseter Ethics CentreUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  7. 7.Intensive Care MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  8. 8.Senior Travelling FellowIntensive Care Society UKLondonUK

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