AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Workplace Stress Can Take a Toll on Your Brain Surgeon, Too

A new study by the Keck School of Medicine of USC finds that two-thirds of neurosurgeons experience burnout during training, and stressors at work are partly to blame

 

When it comes to workplace stress, even doctors aren’t immune to its effects. For doctors training to become neurosurgeons, burnout is common, and certain workplace stressors — like unrewarding mentor relationships, difficult coworkers and not getting enough exposure to the operating room — can lead to it, according to a new study from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Building the skills needed to treat complex neurological conditions like stroke, brain tumors or spinal cord injuries requires a highly demanding, seven-year training program. The pressure of that training can sometimes lead to emotional exhaustion, an inability to connect with others or feeling unaccomplished, which are components of burnout. Understanding what factors influence burnout can be a powerful catalyst for change.

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