The majority of young doctors training to be specialists in Singapore feel burnt-out, according to a local study by NUS Medicine, National Heart Centre Singapore and Duke-NUS Medical School. This may affect their ability to empathise with patients.
The researchers surveyed nearly 500 medical residents across 34 specialities in three public hospitals, eight in 10 of whom said they felt emotionally exhausted, lacking in personal accomplishment, or some degree of depersonalisation. These are generally considered to be the three components of burnout. In addition, researchers found that medical residents – who are training to be specialists – in Singapore are more burnt-out than their counterparts in the United States, and have lower levels of empathy.
Burnout can be caused by various factors – such as workload to the pressures of medical education, and societal expectations of doctors. However, many hospitals have programmes to help young doctors cope with work stress, and build resilience through mentorship and guidance from senior doctors.