Wendy Dean, MD, and Simon Talbot, MD, explore the origin of physician distress with their landmark article on Moral Injury, Physicians aren’t ‘burning out.’ They’re suffering from moral injury.
Moral injury is frequently mischaracterized. In combat veterans it is diagnosed as post-traumatic stress; among physicians it’s portrayed as burnout. But without understanding the critical difference between burnout and moral injury, the wounds will never heal and physicians and patients alike will continue to suffer the consequences.
Our words matter. As with making an accurate diagnosis, using accurate language to describe a situation is the necessary first step in describing its resolution. Labeling the current surfeit of physician distress as “burnout” inaccurately describes the condition and, therefore, misdirects potential solutions. We need the right words to describe the condition, which will allow for development of the right solutions. Moral Injury starts that conversation. Read on Physician’s Weekly: Solving the Double Binds of Moral Injury.
The concept of moral injury expresses the systemic nature of the strain on physicians and the need for a comprehensive approach to address the problem. The root of the problem is “moral injury” resulting from the multiple roles physicians are playing in contradiction to their moral imperative to take care of patients, Simon Talbot, MD, and Wendy Dean, MD, wrote this month in a blog post published by Medical Economics. Are Your Physician’s Suffering from Moral Injury or Burnout?
Wendy Dean, MD and Simon Talbot, MD address the challenges facing medical students as they learn the brass tacks of medicine as well as navigate the complicated world of healthcare. Does Moral Injury happen to medical students? Absolutely. In this piece, we explore Moral Injury to Medical Students.