IT’S NOT BURNOUT, IT’S MORAL INJURY

By: Dr. Wendy Dean and Dr. Simon Talbot: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd-There is a good transcript of the video at the bottom of the post. Moral Injury affects a lot more people than just medical professionals.

Well, “burnout” is a kind of victim shaming. It’s saying, you’re not resourceful enough, you’re not resilient enough, you’re not strong enough, to adapt to a system. Maybe you should meditate? Maybe you should use some lavender essential oil? Maybe we could have a wellness retreat, or hire a chief wellness officer? Listen, it’s all bulls**t.

Here’s what’s really going on. We’re not suffering from burnout. We’re suffering from something that Wendy Dean and Simon Talbot call “Moral injury.”

Let that sink in for a second. People go to war. They have a set of moral values. They care about other human beings. And then they’re forced to either become a part of or bear witness to things that are so against everything they believe, that when they come back they fall apart. We call it PTSD, we have a million different names for it. What it is, is moral injury.

Humans are moral, idealistic creatures that resonate love for other humans. And what happens when our moral ideals meet the real world? Where we cannot give our patients the care we know that we could give if we had the tools, and the resources, and the autonomy to do it. What happens when we’re trained in our schooling to give the best possible care to patients, regardless of their socioeconomic status, regardless of their race, regardless of their condition or their gender, but then we meet the real world where it’s all about the insurance company’s bottom line? It’s all about the hospital system’s revenue. It’s all about throughput and RVU’s.

And then we meet an electronic health record that is a glorified cash register, with a little patient stuff tacked on. And we stare at that instead of staring at the vulnerable person who’s having the worst day of their lives. And you can’t be with them.

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