|Year : 2019 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
Burnout in dentistry: A myth or reality
Sonali Vijay Deshmukh
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of International Clinical Dental Research Organization; Department of Orthodontics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Web Publication||24-Jun-2019|
Sonali Vijay Deshmukh
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of International Clinical Dental Research Organization; Department of Orthodontics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Deshmukh SV. Burnout in dentistry: A myth or reality. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ 2019;11:1-2
We as a dentist and dental practitioners take lot of pride in our profession. The dental profession as we see today is highly competitive and physically and mentally exhaustive. We as a professional are always in a direct contact with patients and more so in proximity to their aura. Eighty to ninety percent of dental patients seek treatment for pain, which directly affects these patients, emotionally and physically; thus, the expectations from the dentists are very high. Dr. Michacl Kesner states that “dentistry has one of the highest “Burnout Rates” of all professions.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has included “burnout” as a disease in its International Classification of Diseases. Burnout can be defined as “a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” The WHO has recognized it as a major issue in healthcare professionals though it is not a medically proven disease. However, it does creeps in almost everyone's life, especially of Dentist. Dentistry is a very demanding profession with high stress and high expectations from self as well as patients. With ever-changing technologies and methods of practices, the mental and physical well-being of a dental practitioner is at stake. General practicing dentist carries multilevel stress while carrying out clinical, administrative, and managerial task. The accumulative result of this stress leads to burnout.
Burnout can start as early as predental preparations of competitive examinations to undergraduate students, postgraduate students, and new practitioners to established professionals. The causes of each level could be different, but culmination of all these factors since young age can hit senior dental professionals in mid-forties to fifties with severe burnout.
When we look particularly in students, it is known that emotional, mental, and psychological health influences academic performance. A stressful environment leads to impaired academic functioning and adds to student's apprehension and anxiety and thus burnout. Moreover, changes in social environment, loss of familiarity, expectations from peers, fear of failure, and uncertainties of future further lead to stress and burnout.
When we talk about recently pass out graduates, the stress of starting a new practice, economics behind it, burden of student loans for some, start of new family life, and eventual settlement needed for family life makes them work relentlessly. At times, no weekend breaks at all! The backlog stress from student days gets carry forward to this stage, which leads to burnout. Some individuals report alarmingly high burnout scores at an early professional stage. Practice management is the professional aspect, about which young professionals worry most. Thus, it is recommended that dental schools pay attention to practice management skills and stressfulness of work in curriculum.
Burnout among the senior professionals most often gets unnoticed and unrecognized. The biggest challenge at this stage is ever-changing technology and concepts in dentistry. Many of these practitioners try to cope up with the trends, but the priorities at this particular juncture of their lives are totally different. Juggling between old and new is what causes maximum stress and burnout.
The most important category of dentist with high stress and burnout is a teacher category. Most of these wonderful teachers with passion of teaching and spreading the knowledge are under tremendous stress and eventual burnout. These are sets of people who are excellent clinicians as well as academicians. However, balancing act of these two spectra needs to be worked out well to avoid burnout.
Thus, every dentist, be it a student or senior practitioner, needs to identify this phenomenon of burnout. The day we say I need a vacation and you come back from vacation and say I need more rest is a day you consider yourself Stressed and Burnout! Causes could be multifactorial, but remedy is always self-introspection and identifying and acknowledging the problem. There is no cookbook approach to this problem. Self-introspection, sharing your problem with loved ones, finding peace with yourself, and keeping the attitude of competing with yourself to be better yourself than yesterday are the what matters most. Jenn Bruer, in his book, “Helping Effortlessly,” says, “Slowly you may have transformed from a helper to one in need of help. It's important to talk about this, to identify the wounds you carry.” The importance of work–life balance has to be an integral part of our teaching and values. The road to happiness starts from you and you only and you can only find the final destination on that road.
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