Expert says 25% of anesthetists at high risk of developing burnout

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By Franca Ofili
Abuja, Oct. 16, 2020 Dr Afred Fom, the Chief Consultant Anesthetist, National Hospital Abuja (NHA), says 25 per cent of anesthetists are at high risk of developing burnout at work.

He said this on Friday in Abuja during a webinar to celebrate the 2020 World Anesthesia Day with the theme “Occupational Wellbeing of the Anesthesiologist.”

He spoke on the topic “Prevention of Burnout in the Anesthesiology.”

According to him, burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged
stress which occurs when one feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained and unable to meet constant demands.

He said anesthetists, also known as anesthesiologists, are responsible for administering one of three different types of anesthesia to patients undergoing specific procedures that require numbing.

Fom added that the risk was due to the fact that their work involved intense and emotion draining, high workload, responsibility for making critical decisions and pressure to avoid errors.

He noted that the prevalence rate of burnout from survey of European anesthetists vary, ranging between six per cent and 18 per cent.

The chief consultant said good preventive measures were necessary to address such epidemic, saying that medical training should be part of a functional work environment.

He noted that burnout could be prevented through individual, organisational approach and provision of conducive working environment, adequate equipment and training.

He explained that the treatment of burnout was not well studied yet but the most therapeutic techniques involved behavioural modification techniques.

Fom said it was necessary to recognise the stressed behaviour and to identify what caused it and then eliminate the stressors.

Dr Olatunde Olawoye, the Consultant Anesthetist, Federal Medical Centre Abuja, who spoke on occupational wellbeing of health workers, advised that anesthetists should have a good relationship with colleagues and families.

Olawoye said that when problems were shared with friends, families and colleagues, it could go a long way in addressing burnout.

He urged anesthetists to always go for medical checkup, do lot of exercise, eat good food, take a break and have fun as it would help to solve some of the problems.

Dr Maryrose Osazuwa, the Head, Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, National Hospital Abuja, advised that medical personnel should cultivate the habit of resting at the hospital before driving home to avoid accident due to work stress.

Osazuwa said it was necessary to know one’s mental wellbeing in order not to administer wrong drugs to patients.

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