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Professional Coaching Alleviates Burnout Symptoms In Physicians

Mayo Clinic News Network
August 5, 2019

Medical doctors in the United States are twice as likely to experience symptoms of burnout as other workers, which can compromise quality of care and place patients at risk. In a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic researchers suggest a new approach to fighting burnout: external professional coaching.

Defined by the World Health Organization as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy,” burnout creates problems for both physicians and the patients they treat. This study, led by Liselotte Dyrbye, M.D. and Colin West, M.D., Ph.D., investigates the use of external professional coaching—focused on professional goal setting, work choices, professional relationships, and influencing change at work—to reduce burnout. Though researchers have previously studied coaching in other contexts, this is the first study specifically exploring its effects on physician burnout.