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Friday, February 1, 2019

In battle against doctor burnout, reading—for fun—is fundamental

Sara Berg
American Medical Association News
Originally posted January 18, 2019

Here is an excerpt:

How reading replenishes

One survey of 513 physicians examined the impact of non-medical reading habits on burnout. The chances of emotional exhaustion or depersonalization fell as physicians became more consistent readers.

When compared to nonreaders, the relative risk of burnout for consistent readers—those who read at least one book per month—fell by 19 percent across the emotional exhaustion and 44 percent across the depersonalization domain.

In an unpublished study by Dr. Marchalik, more than 200 urology trainees were surveyed about work characteristics, as well as relaxation techniques. These included watching movies, meditation, yoga, reading and other ways of relaxing. Meditation, exercise and yoga were not protective against burnout— but reading was.

Controlling for the biggest predictors of burnout, which were resident level, work hours and gender, reading made an impact: the odds of burnout decreased by 59 percent for residents who read for relaxation. A similar effect was seen in Dr. Marchalik’s national survey of palliative care providers, in which the odds of burnout dropped by 39 percent for readers, even when controlling for age, clinical discipline and the presence of fatigue.

The info is here.